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Tue Sep 8, 2015, 03:35 PM

One of nationís largest school districts ditches high school final exams.

Marylandís largest school system will scrap high school final exams next school year, ending a longtime practice that lost support amid a growing national concern about too much student testing.

Montgomery Countyís Board of Education voted unanimously Tuesday to eliminate the two-hour semester-end exams and replace them with shorter marking-period assessments that could take different forms: essays, tests, portfolios, and projects.

The new assessments will replace finals starting in the 2016-2017 school year and would be centrally developed, so that data can be compared across the school system.

The boardís action came as part of a measure that leaves this school yearís high school final exams intact for the first semester. For this yearís second semester, there will be no two-hour finals in courses linked to state tests such as the Maryland High School Assessments or the Common Core-aligned PARCC exams. But finals will go on in other high school-level courses for the last time.

The action marks a major change in the 156,000-student district, where high school final exams and related review time consumed at least a week each semester and sometimes as long as two weeks.

District officials will be changing grading policies as a result of eliminating the high school exams. Under the districtís present system, final exams count for 25 percent of a semester course grade.

The school system plans to release four possible options for changing grading policies Tuesday as officials seek public input.

In Montgomery, high school students have failed their math final exams at rates higher than 50 or 60 percent in some courses. The poor results, which first came to wide public attention in 2013, have left district officials scrambling for solutions. But high failure rates have persisted.


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Reply One of nationís largest school districts ditches high school final exams. (Original post)
elleng Sep 2015 OP
Warpy Sep 2015 #1
haikugal Sep 2015 #2

Response to elleng (Original post)

Tue Sep 8, 2015, 03:39 PM

1. Seniors are OVER IT by the time finals roll around

The ones who want to go to college have already been accepted. The ones who don't often have jobs lined up. There is nothing a grade on a final will do for them. It's no wonder that the kids don't take it seriously, don't bother studying for them, and party for the week of finals, showing up sleep deprived and hung over for all those "vitally important" final tests.

I agree with the school district on this one. Teachers know if they've paid any attention to the course material and have turned in papers. Grades can be based on that.

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