State changes testing practices

Published 12:01 am Thursday, July 19, 2012

This year’s sophomores will be the first students not to take the Alabama High School graduation exam in many years. Instead, they will be required to take end-of-course exams.

This was statewide mandate handed down from the state board of education

Opp City Schools superintendent Michael Smithart told the board Tuesday the measure was a “happy day.”

“We are making significant changes to the testing program,” he said.

Smithart said this year’s juniors will still take the graduation exam, but the freshmen and sophomores will not.

“End of year course exams will be given in English 9, English 10, geometry, algebra I and biology.

“These are state developed tests,” he said. “And will count toward 20 percent of the grade.”

Smithart said the new system will take responsibility of knowing the course material off our students and put it on the school system.

“These tests are developed from standards that are taught in the class,” he said. “It’s going to be really good.”

Smithart said end-of-course exams will eventually be established for history and other core subjects.

“This is just a starting point,” he said.

Board member William Hines said the tests can also serve as an assessment of teachers.

“That’s how the ARMT is,” Smithart said.

Additionally, every 11th grader will take the ACT with the writing component.

“Now maybe a kid who takes the ACT who normally would never take it, will score really well and this would light a fire that they can go to college,” Smithart said.