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Finish 10th Grade, Graduate High School?

Under a pilot program starting in the 2011-2012 school year, 10 to 20 high schools in each of eight states (Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New...


Under a pilot program starting in the 2011-2012 school year, 10 to 20 high schools in each of eight states (Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont) will allow sophomores ready to take college courses to graduate and move onto local community colleges.

The idea comes from the National Center on Education and the Economy, which proposed in a 2006 report the introduction of a battery of board exams covering English, history, math, and science, which, if passed by a student at the end of the 10th grade, would allow them to leave high school. The point: Cutting down on the number of students not ready for college work. Says that NCEE: "Today, nearly half of the students in community colleges take one or more remedial courses and many are never able to complete developmental courses and move on to credit-level courses to complete their college degree."

The board exam system is being used in several other nations, including Australia, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Singapore.

Students who don't pass the exams in 10th grade will have the opportunity to take them again in 11th and 12th grades. According to an article in the Times, students who want to attend selective colleges can stay on a college prep track for the last two years of high school.

Time magazine reported on the idea back in 2008, pointing out that "one key concern is whether test results, at age 16, are really valid enough to indicate if a child should go to university or instead head to a technical school-with the latter almost certainly guaranteeing lower future earning potential."

I like the fact that this system allows students to advance at their own pace-and it may have the unintended positive effect of making the last two years of school more open and creative.

Does this sound like the sort of reform that's a step in the right direction?

Photo (cc) by Flickr user m00by.
















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