Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn wants to continue to require Washington high-school students to pass just three exams to graduate, and urges state legislators to cancel plans that call for five such tests by 2015.
Students in the class of 2013 must pass exams in reading, writing, and one end-of-course test in math. For the class of 2015, students will be expected to pass two math exams, reading, writing, and a biology exam — a total of five tests.
If they fail any of the exams, students can show their skills in alternative ways, too.
Dorn says that five exams would be too much testing, and would cost too much money. Each end-of-course test, he said, now costs about $30 per student. And students who don’t pass have the option of submitting a collection or work, which costs an estimated $400 per student.
Dorn is proposing limiting the tests to three: a combined reading/writing exam, and end-of-course tests in algebra and biology.
“Testing is important,” Dorn said in a prepared release, “but over-testing creates a system in which too much classroom time is devoted to preparing for tests, taking tests and preparing to re-take tests or moving to alternatives when students fail to pass.”