Incentives in School
It’s happened at last: some high school courses now factor students’ performance on state exams into their final grades.
Districts have been understandably frustrated when students shrug off state assessments. To a district, low MAP scores can mean anything from a bad reputation to lost accreditation; to students, they meant nothing — until now.
There are potential drawbacks to a system in which students from many different schools take the same final. On the other hand, seniors taking the same Advanced Placement course are evaluated by the same test. And AP courses are usually considered the most rigorous high school courses, so I don’t follow this logic:
“There is that pitfall of ‘I’m only going to teach to this level of the test’ rather than ‘let’s make this a rigorous course,'” said Sara Torres, a supervisory director with the Science Teachers of Missouri.
If the state exam assumes a low level of knowledge, that shouldn’t prevent teachers from going beyond that level and adding detail when they teach.
Still, this move is not necessarily reason to celebrate, because it could take away from schools’ initiative in developing their own assessment methods.