You can't fool the TAKS-man
What happens when a student doesn't pass the TAKS test, which is required for graduation in Texas?
They keep trying.
TAKS troubles kept more than 400 Austin seniors from donning a cap and gown in May.
Students must pass tests in math, social studies, science and language arts to graduate. They have at least five chances to take the test before graduation and an unlimited number after the graduation date.
By August, about 320 still hadn't passed it.
"We have an obligation to work with the kids as long as they will try to work with us," said Ken Karrer, LBJ's academic director, who supervises the Northeast Austin campus' TAKS remediation efforts.
Exit-level tests are designed to measure basic knowledge and skills to ensure that students are prepared for college and career opportunities. Most states that offer such exams have pass rates ranging from about 70 percent to 90 percent; Texas' rate is 91 percent.
Remedial services for students who fail the exams are among the largest hidden costs of state exit exams and can account for nearly 30 percent of a district's exit exam expenses, according to the Center on Education Policy in Washington. Many of the costs go toward students with limited English proficiency, academically at-risk students and students with special needs. Most of the added expenses involves school personnel.
This issue dovetails nicely with my previous post about kids obtaining credit for failed classes through completing packets created by private companies. We've got two sides to the same coin here: in one system, it doesn't matter what the students know, as long as they get the credit; in the other system, it doesn't matter really what credits a student has if he/she can't demonstrate the knowledge on a test.
Now, I'm not that familiar with the TAKS, although I know that President Bush likes to tout ideas like TAKS as an example of why he is an "education president."
Okay, now that we've all collectively shuddered, I have a few questions:
1. What happens to schools that have significant numbers of their students fail the TAKS?
2. Are there exemptions for special-education students or other special cases?
3. Have there been any lawsuits by students who have good grades but who failed the TAKS?
4. Do students who fail to graduate due to their scores on the TAKS count as drop-outs?
Any answers would be greatly appreciated, and will be offered as guest-blog posts. Because I really do want to know.