Local Administrators Say Exit Exams Measure Success of Teachers - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

08/21/04 - Lufkin

Local Administrators Say Exit Exams Measure Success of Teachers

We all took some form of it before, we graduated high school. Whether your a TAAS kid or a member of the newer TAKS generation, we have all probably thought the same thing...why do I have to do this?

"The tests themselves don't prepare the students, it's the teachers and the accountability to teach the subject matter that's tested that prepares the kid," said Beth Wilbanks, the Director of Curriculum at Diboll ISD.

According to a new study by the Center on Education Policy, of the 25 states that have graduation exams, only Georgia says it ensures students are prepared for higher education or work, but if this doesn't prepare us, then what's the point?

"The test tells us whether we're doing it or not, how well we're doing it, with what students we're successful with, and which ones we still need to work with," said Wilbanks.

The test then really acts as a level of measurement. Measuring how well the teachers are teaching the material, and how well the students are learning.

"An analogy to the test is it's like a medical test. You run these tests, the tests themselves don't help the patient, but it helps the doctor be prescriptive," said Wilbanks.

In looking at the questions, one might wonder why a student would have to know about segments of DNA or chemical equations in order to graduate, but that's not what it's really about. It's about seeing whether the student is able to grasp concepts and apply them in certain situations. Isn't that what we do every day at work? Solve problems by using what we know in different situations. Perhaps that's how the tests show the student is prepared to move on.

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