Mass. Board of Education to Consider College Exit Exam

Mass. Board of Education to Consider College Exit Exam

 BOSTON
Massachusetts’ Board of Higher Education is working to design an exit test that will assess students’ writing, critical thinking and computer skills.
The test — or other type of
assessment — will be aimed at ensuring students don’t leave college without basic skills, says Board of Higher Education Chancellor Judith Gill.
“We still don’t know what it will be,” she says. “It might not even be a test, but we need to find a way to determine the competencies of our students.”
How it will be funded, what form it will take, and what will happen to students who fail is all still under discussion.
State officials say it likely will be at least four years before the specifics are hammered out.
However, the test could take the form of a written exam, an oral exam or a thesis — or some other form.
But while state officials say they believe this ultimately will have a positive effect on the state college system, some worry the pressure will prompt professors to gear their classes solely to a test, rather than offering a broader range of topics —  stifling creativity and a free flow of ideas.
“The whole idea is fraught with difficulty,” says Tim McDonough, a spokesman for the American Council on Education in Washington. “This could add to student cost and requirements, and needs to be looked at very carefully.”
McDonough says no other state college system requires students to pass a basic skills test in order to graduate.
Beginning this year, 10th graders in Massachusetts will have to pass the MCAS exam if they want to graduate. 



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