ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) — Final exams could become a thing of the past in one of the largest school systems in the nation.

The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/1BPjCNM ) reports the exams are coming under scrutiny in suburban Montgomery County as Maryland, like other states, begin to use standardized tests linked with the Common Core State Standards. Many parents, educators and elected leaders have increasingly worried about a long list of exams they see as redundant and eating into instructional time.

Final exams have been daunting for many students in Montgomery County, with high school students failing at rates of 60 percent or more in some math courses.

The push to reconsider finals is related to a growing belief that students are test-weary: In addition to twice-yearly finals, many in Montgomery take Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exams. They also take state tests, Common Core-linked PARCC exams, and college entrance assessments.

The county school board is expected to examine a proposal in July to end traditional exams, replacing them with marking-period assessments that could include unit tests, projects, portfolios, essays or labs. Under that scenario, high school final exams could end in the 2016-2017 school year. For next year, students might be exempt from second-semester exams in courses that use PARCC or Maryland High School Assessment exams, which include Algebra 1, Algebra 2, English 10, biology and government.

“As a practical matter for students, I’m questioning the value of final exams,” said School Board President Patricia O’Neill. “I think we need to explore all options, whether it’s culminating activities or teacher-generated tests. I think nothing should be ruled out.”
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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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