It’s no secret that Nevada isn’t leading the pack in terms of high school graduation rates, and a lot of the controversy over our state’s dismal number centers on the exit exam each student must take to graduate—the High School Proficiency Examination (HSPE).
Well, that test might soon be a thing of the past. The Weekly’s sister publication, the Las Vegas Sun, reported last week that “higher education leaders and some school districts are now pushing the state education department and political leaders to begin looking for an alternative high school examination that is nationally recognized, better aligned to more rigorous curriculum standards, and can be used to gauge a student’s college and career readiness.” The Sun reported that two tests could be potential replacements: 1. an electronic exam being developed for the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a collection of states including Nevada, and 2. the ACT.
Although national standardization is a great idea, especially considering the colleges and universities that actually use these test results, let’s remember something: Students are already having a hard time passing the HSPE, and a new test (especially one with potentially more rigorous standards) could produce similar results. We can only hope that as the tests gets better, so will the instruction.