Board of Education Agrees to Ditch Final Exams in County Middle Schools

Board of Education Agrees to Ditch Final Exams in County Middle Schools

Decision also sets up possibility of phasing out high school final exams

| Published:

Board of Education

Aaron Kraut

The Montgomery County Board of Education unanimously agreed Tuesday to eliminate all centrally developed final exams in middle school courses for the 2015-2016 school year.

The board agreed with the recommendation of Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers, who also laid out a process for how the school system might eventually phase out high school exams in subjects for which students already take Maryland state tests.

The move comes after months of suggestions from some on the board that students are being tested too much, leaving less time for classroom instruction. It also comes as county students continue to fail certain high school-level exams at high rates.

Under the plan endorsed by the board Tuesday, all end-of-semester exams in middle school courses will be immediately eliminated.

The board’s Policy Management Committee will discuss phasing out high school exams—which are taken in two-hour blocks—and collect public feedback on the proposal.

Bowers’ plan would eliminate high school exams in Algebra 1, English 10, biology and government in the second semester of the upcoming school year. Those are subjects covered by the statewide Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests.

The committee will also examine getting rid of all other high school exams for the 2016-2017 school year. Instead, schools would use in-class assessments given throughout the school year that could include unit tests, essays, projects and “document-based questions.”

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