(RestoreAmericanGlory.com) – The recent decision by the Oregon State Board of Education to suspend the need for high school students to prove proficiency in reading, writing, and math via standardized tests for graduation has stirred up mixed reactions. MacKensey Pulliam, the head of the Oregon Moms Union, expressed her lack of surprise, noting that the Board has a history of deferring the institution of new graduation criteria.
While the Board and the Oregon Department of Education claim that the move aims to serve marginalized communities who are negatively impacted by standardized tests, Pulliam counters this viewpoint. She believes that these exams were initially instituted as a quality control mechanism to ensure that students either meet the educational standards or receive extra support to do so.
Oregon’s track record in terms of educational proficiency rates is not encouraging, Pulliam points out. She raises the question of whether the suspension of these requirements is a way to artificially inflate the appearance of educational progress. Last week, the Board opted to prolong the halt on these graduation criteria at least until the 2027–28 academic year. Although tests will still be administered, they will no longer factor into graduation eligibility.
Oregon education officials have defended the decision. They emphasize that they have not completely abandoned assessments but have rather ceased relying on specific test scores as a graduation requisite. Instead, they will focus on other aspects like coursework and Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathways to evaluate students’ abilities.
At the state level, the push for this suspension was rooted in a broader concern about the potentially unfair impacts of these assessments. A report from the Oregon Department of Education revealed troubling correlations between test outcomes and racial and other demographic factors. This led to claims that the prior system perpetuated inequities.
While the Oregon Moms Union sees the current landscape as a decline in educational standards, exacerbated by learning losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, education officials view it as a temporary measure. The State Board and the Oregon legislature are purportedly in discussions to devise new, more equitable graduation criteria.
This situation reveals a complex picture of educational policy, one torn between the immediate need to address educational inequities and the long-term implications of altering graduation requirements. It also reflects broader national debates over how to most effectively measure educational success, especially in a post-pandemic world.
Copyright 2023, RestoreAmericanGlory.com