Essay on “Should Students Have to Pass a Basic Skills Test to Graduate High School?”
The high schools in the USA do not follow a common curriculum. This anomalous situation is giving scope for disparities in the educational standards among the students who apparently possess the same qualifications. It will be difficult to know the level of skills of the students coming from different schools without a common test.
However, there are strong opinions for and against this test. The supporters argue that the learning of basic skills is in the best interest of the students themselves. They strongly feel that the acquisition of these skills will help the students to be successful in their future careers. They further opine that the test will motivate the students to learn the skills.
They believe that the mandating of the skills test would force the schools to train their students to achieve these skills. In other words, this will lead to the standardization of education without disparities in the levels of knowledge of the students supposedly possessing the same qualifications. The supporters maintain that the test helps the individual school managements to assess their own performance and will make them refine their teaching and curriculum.
The opponents of this view hold that the test cannot be an accurate tool for evaluation. On the contrary, it would adversely impact the education standards as the teachers will focus more on training their students to get through the test than on guiding them for their overall intellectual development.
Against this background, it may be concluded that the skills test is an effective tool to assess the standards. Together with the mandating of the test, steps should also be taken to ensure the improvement of the quality of teaching at schools. The overall standards thus improved will reduce the need for the special preparation to pass the basic skills test. In fact, the skills test is going to be an opportunity to improve the standards; not a threat as feared by the critics.