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[Susan notes: The public hasn't a clue what a cut off score is and it's a good idea to inform them how arbitrary and politically expedient passing rates are.]

Published in Fresno Bee

To the editor

The editorial on maintaining the Exit Exam (March 19, 2005) is flawed on many fronts:

1. The CAHSEE is not a valid assessment of what a student knows and is able to do. In its own testing guide the Dept. of Education ( as well as The Joint Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing ) says," A decision or characterization about a student should not be make on the basis of a single test score." National PTA & McGraw Hill and 27 other organizations call for multiple measures, not just one.

2. Parents and students are not informed by the state of the random and systematic errors in each test administration which could easily invalidate an individual score.

3. An independent study by the Educational Policy Studies Laboratory concludes by saying, "the implementation of high school graduation exams results in a decrease in academic achievement. It was found that after high-stakes graduation exams were implemented, ACT, SAT and AP scores declined."

4. States with a graduation exam requirement averaged a 64% graduation rate, 8% lower than the 72% for the states without the requirement. Lower achieving students were 25% more likely to drop out of high school than comparable peers in non-test states ( EPSL)

5. The cut off scores for graduation are not made on educational grounds ( it takes 55% on a test to pass ) but rather what is politically expedient: What should the graduation score be so that we do not have a revolt on our hands?

Rog Lucido, Educators and Parents Against Testing Abuse

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