Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Missouri Board of Education is playing with the idea of using a national college entrance exam like the ACT instead of the MAP tests currently in use. The ACT, already taken by 70 percent of high school students, is administered during the junior year.

Proponents of the change argue that students face no repercussions for poor performances on the MAP tests, since the penalties for poor MAP tests primarily are assessed against the schools. Individual results are not recorded. But performing poorly on the ACT could jeopardize students' choices of colleges. Proponents of the change also hope that requiring students to take the ACT would inspire more to go to college.

We applaud the board's desire to make students more accountable for learning and to encourage more high school students to go on to college, but waiting until the 11th grade to do so would be much too late. MAP tests are given beginning in the third grade. We think finding a way to make individual students accountable for their MAP test scores throughout their learning years would make more sense.

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