The Lay of the Land Some Other Ways States Let Students Meet High School Exit Standards Keith Gayler Center on Education Policy Protective measures, not new assessments All 25 states with exit exams allow 2 to 11 opportunities to retest 13 states provide certificates of achievement, attainment, or attendance Three Main Optional Paths to a Regular Diploma Substitute Assessments Waivers and Appeals Processes State Developed Assessments Substitute Assessments 5 states (Florida, Idaho, North Carolina, New York and Virginia) Examples: SAT, ACT, PSAT, AP, TOEFL, and IB Criteria for student eligibility Different state guidelines for what is an acceptable test Florida--FCAT 10th grade reading and mathematics First graduating class to withhold diplomas— 2003 Intense political pressure in spring 2003 Last minute temporary adoption of SAT and ACT as substitute tests Used by 125 students out of roughly 15,000 in class of 2003 who had not passed the exam Virginia--SOLs End of course exams First graduating class to withhold diplomas—2004 Detailed criteria for eligible substitute tests Used by 0.08% of students in 2004 Virginia Substitute Test Criteria The test must… Be standardized and graded independently Be knowledge-based Be administered on a multi-state or international basis Measure content that incorporates or exceeds SOL course content 3 Sets of SAT Cut Scores State Math Verbal FL 410 370 ID 400 200 NC 450 480 Pros and Cons Relatively inexpensive in terms of development costs Validity problems Not necessarily aligned to state standard May undermine support for state test Setting appropriate cut-off score can be difficult A Rarely Used Option Florida—125 students in 2003 New York—0.1% of students Virginia—0.08% of students Waivers and Appeals Waivers and appeals excuse students on a case by case basis from having to pass or take exit exams Most common option--11 states Also fairly rarely used Wide range of stringency for the policies Some Typical Requirements Having taken the test and failed from one to three times Completing remediation Specific GPAs and attendance rate Documentation or portfolio evidence Extenuating circumstances (illness, late move into a state) Georgia’s Waiver Policy Requires a recommendation from the superintendent and submission of a waiver packet containing documentation of reasons for the waivers All students are potentially eligible, but receiving a passing vote typically requires documentation of a limitation that would account for failing the test Ohio’s Waiver Policy In last semester of school Has taken remediation 2.5 GPA or higher Passed 4 of 5 sections of the test Missed the cut score by 10 points or less 97% attendance record Has letters from teachers in the subjects he/she did not pass Pros and Cons Perceived as fair for the most part but some may try to use it as a free pass Can be a large administrative and cost burden Even with many criteria, relies on subjective decisions on evidence Have to decide on local versus state adjudication State Developed Assessments Rarely used--Mississippi and New Jersey currently have systems in place. Washington State is in process. State has control over content and alignment. However, they can be expensive and difficult to develop. Mississippi--SATP End of course tests like Maryland. If a student fails a Subject Area Test twice, he or she can appeal for a Substitute Evaluation. In 2003, only 2 students were given the evaluation. Mississippi’s Substitute Evaluation 7 to 8 month assessment process beginning in the fall and ending in May A representative and deliberate sample of student work/information is collected MDE approves and trains a team of external evaluators to score the student’s work and make judgments about student mastery of the competencies for the subject area being assessed More Than an Appeals Process There are very detailed requirements for the kinds, level of detail, standards covered, and number of pieces of student work to be provided. Documentation of what was taught prior to the piece of work being submitted, where the work was done, who helped, reading samples for exercises. Clear rating system and scoring rubrics developed just for this process. 3-4 raters used for the determination process. Pros and Cons Less subjective than most appeals processes with outside raters and clear scoring guidelines and evidence requirements. Links clearly to state standards. Provides more flexibility than an actual test and doesn’t look like a test. So burdensome that it is rarely used and not much protection. New Jersey--HSPA Tests in language arts literacy and mathematics. Students who score partially proficient in one of the content areas and are expected to complete all other state and local graduation requirements are eligible for the Special Review Assessment. They must continue to take the regular exit exam. In 2003, roughly 15% of graduating students passed the SRA to graduate. SRA Untimed Scored locally Successfully complete a number of Performance Assessment Tasks—one to six part open-ended question ELA—one persuasive reading PAT, one narrative reading PAT, and two writing PATs. Math—2 PATs from each of the 4 mathematics clusters. Can be exempted from some PATs depending on HSPA score. PAT can be spread out over several days. Pros and Cons State developed items rather than more subjective portfolio Only tests students’ weak areas Allows for targeted remediation Very limited number of items/spotty coverage of standards Local scoring raises concerns about objectivity Open to too many students/overused Losing political support Very time and cost intensive Washington--WASL Diplomas to be withheld starting with the class of 2008 Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL): tests in ELA and Math OSPI was required by the state legislature to “develop options for implementing objective alternate assessments, which may include an appeals process, for students to demonstrate achievement of the state academic standards” WASL Grade Point Average Would use grades from a specified set of courses that are aligned to the knowledge and skills needed to meet the WASL standard. Districts would have to analyze course content. The state would determine the passing GPA based on student transcripts and WASL scores in the district. The target GPA would change every year to deal with grade point inflation and would be adjusted for outlier schools. Pros and Cons Based on several years/classes worth of work Adaptive to changes in grading A great deal of work to analyze course content and come up with an index, which is then different across districts and schools Exit exams were a response to loss meaning in course grades WASL Course and Course Test Design a course to contain content essential to meeting the standards on the WASL. Student would receive course credit. End of course test or several topical exams to reflect major domain areas. Pros and Cons Addresses opportunity to learn concerns Could utilize more problem types and test closer to when content was taught If done online, students could take tests when ready Expensive in terms of time and test construction Adapt the Culminating Project A culminating project will be a graduation requirement of all students entering 9th grade in 2004. The culminating project requirements would have to be altered to be highly specified. Easy to require certain skills show but hard to require certain sets of standards to be covered. Allows more judgment in the process. Let the state use a requirement already in place. Juried Assessment of Student Work Resource intensive Initial discussions make it sound very similar to Mississippi’s alternate assessment as outlined above Appeals Process In addition to above options, a very limited in scope appeals process. Case-by-case for special circumstances like late transfers, illness, or test administration or scoring irregularities. State appeals board would meet 2 to 4 times a year and review appeals individually.