School Leaders See Challenges with End of Course Testing

Houston County, AL - The Alabama graduation exam is out and end of course testing is in.

“It is developed by ACT and it is based on the common core standards. The Alabama Grad Exam is based on Alabama Course of Standards,” said Houston County School Secondary Supervisor Rhonda Lassiter.

The state will phase in parts of the new test over the next three years. This year students are taking four parts. By 2016 there will be twelve.

Systems have the option of giving the test on a computer or with pen and paper.

“If there ever was a year to try it with a small amount of tests, let’s do this. So we did decide to go with the computer based testing at our five high schools,” said Houston County Schools System Test Coordinator, Cas Haddock.

About one thousand students in Houston County have been in a computer lab this week taking the test for the first time.

They’re not the only ones who have to crunch the numbers.
Leaders have discovered a few issues like low bandwidth and lack of computers.
“We are looking at some prices at upgrading every school slowly to upgrade the numbers in the lab. So when we do implement these full 12 we will have the availability to be testing 2-3 classes at one seat time. The numbers will be there and the bandwidth upgrade shouldn’t be an issue,” said Haddock.
Because online testing means almost instant test results, something you don’t get with paper and pencil.
“With instant results they can develop plans and do grade level planning to go ahead through the summer they can attend professional development in the areas these students are deficient in because they got instant results instead of waiting till August,” said Haddock.

Here’s a look at how the tests are being phased in.

2012-2013

English 9
English 10
Algebra I
Geometry

2013-2014

Above assessments plus
English 11
Algebra II

2014-2015

Above assessments plus
English 12
Pre-Calculus
U.S. History

2015-2016

Above assessments plus
Biology
Chemistry
Physics


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