Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world


English First, Then Diploma

Filed under: Education,Society — Dangerous Dan @ 1:01 am

Number 2 Pencil points out this article on CNN.com about the trend towards high schoolers having to take exit examinations in order to get their diplomas. The Center on Education Policy is concerned about this because the tests are in English. At least that's the derivative concern. The problem is that immigrants who don't know English as well are hurt on these tests and often don't pass them the first time or at all. Thus, they don't receive a high school diploma.

"Do we want a lot of high school students who don't have diplomas — and therefore have a lot of limited opportunities after high school — because they are still acquiring English?" she said. "We need more of a policy on what to do with these children."

#2Pencil rightly points out that the emphasis shouldn't be on kids with no diplomas because of their poor English, but on whether those with limited English should be granted degrees at all. When these kids get out of high school, they're going to go on to college or to jobs. Educators do them no favors by giving them diplomas even though they lack the language skills necessary to pass exit exams. Better that they initially fail the exam than be set up to prematurely fail in life.

The purpose of the exit exams is to make sure that all kids graduating from high school have at least the same minimum skill level. If some kids, immigrant or not, don't possess the language proficiency required to understand the test, then they clearly don't have the minimum skill level.

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