No major decisions were made at last night’s school board meeting. There was, however, discussion of a change in the district’s policy toward the state-mandated Keystone exams. In the past, students who failed the Keystone exams were more or less required to keep taking them, again and again, over subsequent semesters. The district will now change this practice so that students who fail the exams still have the option to retake the tests, but will otherwise meet state graduation requirements through a career readiness portfolio that all East Penn students already complete. Watch the discussion here.
I’ve spoken against the mandatory test retakes in past meetings as a practice informed more by the needs of the district’s ‘metrics’ than the educational needs of students. I therefore welcome this positive change in district policy, one of five things I proposed for improving our approach to testing. State-mandated tests still dominate our classrooms and school calendar, however. For more on this issue, please see my What Vietnam Can Teach Us About Standardized Testing.