Sunday, April 27, 2003

Students can skip retest with pledge

The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Students who sign a pledge that they did not see the questions before taking a state writing test won't have to retake the test, state officials have decided.

Officials at the Kentucky Department of Education said a few days ago that nearly 1,800 seniors - including a total of 46 in two Northern Kentucky districts - received test forms that contained previously released questions and would have to retake the test.

But now state officials have created a form that will instead test the students' honesty. By signing the form, students pledge they never saw the questions on the test "either on a Web site or from any other source."

The 26 school districts affected by the decision balked at the idea of retesting, however, saying students, especially seniors weeks away from graduating, might not perform as well a second time.

"We want our kids to do as well as possible just like everyone else," said Fred Bassett, superintendent of Beechwood Independent Schools in northern Kentucky, where 13 students would have had to retake the test.

Thirty-three seniors in the Covington Independent Schools district will also be allowed to sign.

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