State aims to replace exit exams

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For years, Richmond County school officials have complained about the state's exit exams, tests that are sometimes a barrier between students and their graduation.

Now the State Department of Education is considering phasing out the five-part Georgia High School Graduation Test, replacing it with a new series of nine tests.

"What we have at this time is some initial ideas," said Chris Domaleski, the state's associate superintendent in the Assessment and Accountability Office of Standards, Instruction and Assessment. "It would be hard for me stress just how nascent this idea is right now."

As the proposal stands, the new tests would also replace the existing End of Course Tests, and as the name suggests, would be administered immediately after the student completes the class. Dr. Domaleski called it "more appropriate" to test then.

Currently, End of Course Tests count for a portion of a class's grade, and the high school graduation test, administered in 11th grade, determines whether a student receives a diploma or a certificate of completion.

Dr. Domaleski said there are still many questions that need to be answered.

For instance, the department must set the number of tests that students must pass to receive a diploma, determine the costs and review how the proposed changes would affect graduation rates, the associate superintendent said.

Dr. Domaleski said the new tests would better correspond with Georgia's new curriculum and its recently approved graduation rules.

Carol Rountree, Richmond County's director of guidance, testing and research, is reserving her opinion of the test until she learns more about it.

"It was very frustrating trying to explain to students why they had to take two tests," Dr. Rountree said. "This one is to determine whether you graduate, and this one is to show much you learned."

With the test given at the end of a class, it should be a more valid assessment of what a student learned, she said.

During the past several years, Richmond County school officials often have asked the state to phase out the Georgia High School Graduation Test, citing Georgia House Bill 1187. According to the law, the graduation tests would be eliminated after end of course tests were established.

Dr. Domaleski said the department is still unsure how the law affects the proposal.

If the State Board of Education approves the proposal, the earliest it would go into effect would be for freshmen entering in the 2008-09 school year.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

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cheaters.
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cheaters. 12/03/07 - 08:42 am
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This is crazy for a person to

This is crazy for a person to spend half thier life trying to get an education and then have to take an exit exam to see if he or she deserves a diploma or certificate. This is a terrible road we are sending our kids down and it needs to change.

SoWhat
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SoWhat 12/03/07 - 09:31 am
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duh!!! If they spent half

duh!!! If they spent half their lives getting an education .. Where did that education go at test time? Oh my how terrible to expect them to have learned something. Maybe we should just issue attendance diplomas. That is all a lot of them have done and not a very good job of that either.

charlesmanson
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charlesmanson 12/03/07 - 11:07 am
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exactly sowhat. this is just

exactly sowhat. this is just another dumb down measure.it won't be long before all sat,pact and other tests are eliminated and anyone can attend college.then we will indeed be the dumbest nation on earth.i just hope i won't be here to witness it.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 12/03/07 - 12:48 pm
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Cheaters above thinks that

Cheaters above thinks that "sitting in a classroom for 12 years" equates to "getting an education." You are supposed to have actually "learned" something in those 12 years, not merely taken up space.

tprioleau
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tprioleau 12/03/07 - 05:40 pm
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I am very upset about the

I am very upset about the graduation test. It was a problem for me to get my diploma due to the test. I passed all my classes but some parts of the graduation test were very hard for me like science, social studies. How many people actually have a career in augusta with those types of jobs. Further more when you enter into college thats when your going to really get the basis of what you need in life I hope that they do away with it and make it more of an educational tool than a headache and a feeling of failure of all the years of hard work.

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