Letters to the Editor

Wants tough standards for graduation tests

Did the state and district set themselves up for failure regarding the recent Smarter Balanced testing? The testing was set, letting it be known that it was in no way a requirement for future graduation and then on top of it all, an opt-out was provided. What would you expect other than lack of enthusiasm and a rebellion by both students and parents? Then, in addition, the results were to be used as a baseline for passing the next graduation class. Why would anyone think that any effort would be put into taking this test and that the baseline would be that meaningful? I believe it is nothing more than an excuse to lower the base standard and to show some future built-in progress.

I don’t condone the student testing rebellion, but I understand it. If your expectations and requirements are lowered you reap what you sow. I believe students will not disappoint and most will take the easiest path.

The truth is that there must be a set of basic skills that a high school graduate must bring to college or the work place. College entrance exams and standardized testing are supposed to be just that. Don’t forget how this got started. Industry couldn’t find enough employees with the basics, even out of some community colleges. If this new testing is grounded in demonstrating basic “comprehension” skills and ‘critical thinking,” then I am all for it. Just please, let’s raise the bar!

Steve Westhoff

Bellingham

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