Adjusted proficiency exam scores announced
June 10, 2003
Six of the nine Carson High School seniors who originally failed the math proficiency exam received word Monday that they had passed.
“Good for them,” said Principal Glen Adair. “They were real close in the first place.”
Nevada lawmakers approved a last-minute bill Friday during their special session to lower the passing score of the state-mandated test from 304 to 290.
“You’re not looking at this enormously reduction in the requirement to pass,” Adair said. “I think it was appropriate.”
In Douglas County, 12 students originally failed the test, but five then passed with the lowered score. All will be permitted to participate in graduation exercises Friday evening, in contradiction of the district’s usual policy.
Officials from the State Department of Education announced plans to meet during the summer to incrementally raise the passing score.
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Adair said he’s concerned the standard will keep changing from year to year.
“If it’s truly a proficiency exam, it tests what kids should have learned,” Adair said. “Why would that change from year to year? They need to decide what score they want and leave it there for a while.”
All Nevada seniors must pass the reading, writing and math portions of the proficiency exam, in addition to meeting all course-credit requirements, to graduate.
One Carson High School student failed the reading portion this year.
Although most districts in Nevada allow students who did not pass the exam to participate in graduation ceremonies, Carson City does not.
An additional section of the bill also required all districts to allow students who had not passed the math portion of the test but had met all other requirements to walk in graduation.
“I appreciate their look at the test, but I think they overstepped their bounds,” Adair said. “It’s our decision how we run our graduation.”
He called the legislation inconsistent.
“On one hand, we have this test we’ll require them to pass to graduate. But we also provide an out so they can feel good about a non-accomplishment.”
He said allowing students who have not passed the test to walk in graduation reduces the incentive for them to return and retake the test until they pass it. He said his policy will remain the same next year, despite the ruling this year.
Results from Pioneer High School were not immediately available.
Mike Watty, associate superintendent of education for Carson City, will discuss the results in tonight’s school board meeting.
If You Go:
What: Carson City School Board meeting
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Where: Carson City Community Center, Sierra Room