Tuesday, May 23, 2000

Fairfield weighs test incentives

Class of '00 results low

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — Low scores on Ohio's 12th Grade Proficiency Test have prompted administrators at Fairfield High School to review incentives offered to seniors who pass all sections of the test.

        Unlike the Ninth Grade Proficiency Test, passage of the 12th grade test is not necessary for a student to graduate. But those who pass are given a $500 credit that can be used at any Ohio college, university or technical school. Scores from the test are one of 28 criteria on Ohio's Report Card. School districts are put into one of four categories used to rate school districts for effectiveness.

        Only 38 percent of the Class of 2000 passed all five sections of the test, Principal Monica Mitter said. That's the lowest passing rate recorded by Fairfield students since the tests began.

        Students scored the highest on the writing section, with 75 percent passing. The lowest scores were on the science section, with 52 percent passing. Fifty-seven percent of seniors passed math, 64 percent citizenship and 58 percent reading.

        “It would be wrong to say no one cared about the test. There are students who did try. This is the first time we've not had success. Last year was our best year ever, so we know what we've done in the past was successful,” Mrs. Mitter said. “The students didn't perform to their ability based on past performance. This class was equally capable as any previous class.”

        The students had taken one practice test a month from September through January. The real tests were given in February.

        A survey by 108 teachers after test scores were reviewed showed that almost half of the respondents felt a lack of incentives for seniors contributed to the poor showing. The top reason, teachers said, was student attitudes about the test.

        Mrs. Mitter said she would meet with next year's senior class officers shortly after school begins to talk about incentives for students who score well.

        “We surveyed GMC (Great Miami Conference) schools, and they all offer incentives,” Mrs. Mitter said. “The biggest was exemption from final exams.”

        Besides incentives, Mrs. Mitter said she would seek more help from parents and teachers on emphasizing the importance of the tests to the Class of 2001.


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