Lisa Guisbond: All Hail R.I, Diploma System

Monday, March 24, 2008

Bravo to Rhode Island for developing a high-school diploma system based on multiple measures, not just standardized tests (“Educators still flock to see improvements at Hope,” March 13). As a parent of two children in Massachusetts’s public schools, I know that claims about the Bay State’s success with exit exams are largely hype. Many other Massachusetts parents, teachers and students believe our system should be transformed into one more like Rhode Island’s. Such a system would encourage a more engaging and richer education for our students.

In Massachusetts, especially in urban districts, schooling is too often reduced to little more than test preparation. Other harmful consequences include rising urban dropout rates, crippling anxiety for some students, and the loss of such valuable learning opportunities as art, music, gym, field trips and recess. Though pressure to climb on the testing bandwagon is intense, we encourage Rhode Island to continue to put students and high-quality education before test scores.



The writer is a policy analyst for FairTest (National Center for Fair & Open Testing).

© 2008, Published by The Providence Journal Co., 75 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02902.