R.I. Education Commissioner Deborah A. Gist is totally on the money. The carnival sideshow that was 50 adults taking a sample New England Common Assessment Program test was more than silly. It damages the efforts – and progress – that Ms. Gist has been making with regard to the quality of the state’s educational efforts.
The adult test-taking came as a result of the news that 40 percent of the state’s current high school junior class was in danger of not graduating next year thanks to sub-par scores on the math portion of the NECAP tests in the fall.
The faux exam was organized by a student group to show … what exactly? That adults, decades removed from school, should have mastery of academic concepts they haven’t seen in years?
The point of the tests is to measure how much progress Rhode Island’s students are making toward gaining a diploma, a document that says they are ready to enter the workforce or move on to higher education. If they do poorly in their junior-year tests, they have the opportunity to get tutoring and retake the test. In fact, they only have to show a modest improvement to graduate.
If the goal of those opposed to the test is to continue to produce students poorly prepared for the workforce, then by all means, eliminate the test. But if those opponents really want Rhode Island’s children to advance in the world, they should stop obstructing and support Ms. Gist. •