Monday, August 05, 2013
Completed But Not Graduated
None of this is a reflection on any one person’s (or one college’s) performance. It’s about the rules of the game by which we all play. In my more utopian moments, I occasionally wonder how the rules would be different if we kept in mind that student who made it through a rough high school but doesn’t test well. She deserves better than this.
Second Correction: In my state, a student can drop out of public HS (with required tests) and finish at a private HS (where you get a diploma without passing the state test). Yes, that does require some awareness and resources, so it might be less well known if those tests are relatively new in your area. Most athletes know about it, and CC football exists to further bridge that gap.
But do you really want someone in your class who believes that all they have to do to pass a college class is to put in their time? Trust me, it was much better when HS teachers failed students and they flunked out. (This was well before your time. One of my fellow HS "grads", who finished with a 1.0 gpa, made the jump from wasting his life to a productive life after he grew up a little.) It was the worst when "time served" was enough.
Now the problem is the prevalence of cram-and-forget study methods pushed to help students pass those high stakes tests. I've had to consciously un-teach that style in my college classes and spend more time on problem solving that is no longer part of the HS curriculum.
IME, students who earn a GED and go to CC understand the need for further remediation and do it. Most only need it in math. If the new GED is properly aligned, the need for math remediation should be reduced.
If some middle-aged fellow shows up at our CC door, looking to take some classes, we don't ask to see his diploma. Why wouldn't we do the same for teenagers? As long as a student can demonstrate that s/he has the ability to benefit from the class (presumably based on courses from a HS transcript or placement tests), why wouldn't we take them?
With the rise of dual-enrollment HS/CC programs where CC courses are taught in the HSs (and vice-versa), the HS/CC line has already been blurred. Why is anyone still trying to make that distinction?
I think that it is great to see that there are certain requirements to achieve a HS diploma, and that seems worthwhile for students who do not continue into higher education. But if they do continue, that diploma rapidly recedes into the background as students build a college transcript.
NCLB requires that states give a test annually in 1-8 (I always forget whether K is included or not) and at least once in high school and that the state use the scores to make determinations about how the school is doing.
The Mass Comprehensive Assessment System* operates with school-based stakes only from 1-8. It's only the high school exam that the state decided to make high-stakes for the individual students.
Many other states have adopted a similar set of rules, some have not.
That is, yes, there's a state test, but the fact that it's high-stakes for students is completely the decision of your state. Lobby the lawmakers to change it and you can. But, the wording in the post makes it appear that the high-stakes nature is the result of NCLB.
Just as long as I'm on this informational kick: charter schools do take the state tests and have to report the results in MA (YMMV here), but as CCPP notes, private schools don't.
*Quick, name at least two things that the name wants you to believe that aren't really at all true.
Answer: It's neither comprehensive nor is it really a system, it's just one test ...
Here, in Canada, we use the GED to show, for example, that home-schooled kids have met the provincial standards (or, s in my kid's case, exceeded them). That's a present use for a world in which few Canadian youth are off at war, and the results here give an indication of where the GED writer places in relation to regular HS completers. THe GED results here are valid for entry into university and into college, or into the (increasingly small) workforce for HS grads.
In our case we home-schooled our kid when the system told us they had no capacity to deal with our "twice exceptional" kid -- he has a processing delay combined with 91st to 97h percentile talents in maths, working memory, logic, language and rhetoric as measured by WISK and WIAT III.
In the US, my uncle left his military service in the 50s with his GED and most of a private Catholic HS education and went directly into university in a LLB, and then JD programme.
What the heck has happened to render the GED a "second rate" measure since then? It's either an "equivalency" test, or it isn't. If you finish in the top 10% of the national control group but still have to go to a CC for "further remediation" that seems to knock out all the gifted/talented who are so often also LD students, and are knocking out those with military service interrupting the usual flow (still common among those for whom post-secondary isn't even thinkable without military service benefits). So, what's up with that?