Nipps says assessment tests could aggravate dropout rate

October 01, 1997


Staff Writer

A local school official said she fears the dropout rate will increase in Washington County schools if state officials decide to make a new high school assessment test part of a requirement for graduation.

Although many of the details of the high school assessment test have not yet been worked out, it is highly likely that students' performance on the tests will determine whether they get a diploma, state Department of Education consultant Ray Keech told parents and school officials during a meeting at South Hagerstown High School Tuesday night.

There is no statewide testing program for high school students, but under the proposal, high school students would have to get passing grades on 10 of 12 assessment tests covering subjects such as English, math, science and social studies.


Washington County Board of Education member Doris J. Nipps said she is worried about whether students will have enough time to complete all the tests if they begin having problems passing them.

"Some kids test well. Some kids walk in and take a test and they choke, and that's my concern. Kids could see it as very discouraging," said Nipps.

Keech, however, said standards need to be raised.

During the meeting he handed out a column from The Baltimore Business Journal that said students are being given diplomas without being required to meet standards that are consistent with success.

"Shouldn't we assess to see if we're doing a good job?" said Keech. "I think we ought to stop telling these kids they're not capable."

Keech said the Maryland Board of Education could decide by Dec. 2 whether the tests should be tied to diplomas.

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