Is it the state’s goal to educate or just graduate?

Published on Press-Register, by MELINDA MANLEY, August 10, 2008.

Just over a decade ago, some of my students were struggling to pass an Alabama graduation exam that was written on an eighth-grade level. A few of them did not pass.

Meanwhile, the business community began to complain about Alabama seniors who did pass the test. Business owners said too many of their new employees did not have the skills to help them compete in the growing world economy.

The state’s answer was a new, more complex Alabama High School Gradua tion Exam, which addressed five subject areas (math, English, reading, science and social studies) and mirrored college entrance exams in its format.

Coupled with this change was a statewide focus on increased instructional rigor, higher classroom standards and detailed documentation to prove teachers were focused on aiding students to pass the new exam … (full text).

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