The new Maryland School Assessment focuses on reading and math, per the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act. The test also allows for comparisons with students both within a school and across the country.
Students, the ACLU and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are campaigning against the mandatory use of Internet filters in schools. Said an attorney for the ACLU: "Blocking technology throws up a roadblock to the very intellectual inquiry that the Internet makes possible."
The plaintiffs say their schools haven't taught them the material covered in the exam, which will be required for graduation in Massachusetts from next year. About 45% of students with disabilities, 65% with limited English and 44% of vocational students have yet to pass the test.
Two studies by researchers at Arizona State University and Stanford University suggest that students learn more from certified teachers. The studies say students at low performing urban schools are especially affected by a shortage of certified instructors.
U.K. Education Secretary Estelle Morris yesterday said the government would launch a formal inquiry to investigate allegations that the examinations board lowered grades on some A-level tests. One source says it has obtained a letter from exams board chief Dr. Ron McClone saying the scores were fixed.