The Department of Education has recently drawn fire from some quarters for encouraging schools to rethink their approach to honor rolls and class rankings of students, out of fear that they may be harmful to those who fail to make the cut. Others have suggested that the state should refrain from bringing back its annual testing program in English Language Arts and mathematics.
For some, these ideas are a clear attack on merit, but there are elements of truth in the critique of the state’s testing program generally and the hyper-competitive culture of some schools. Our schools should be able to recognize hard work and success without demonizing those students who struggle to make the grade. A big part of the problem is the decision, made in 2013, to align the definition of “proficiency” on the annual state exams in English and math to the score that students needed to receive in their grade to be considered on-track to attain “college and career readiness” by the end of high school.
Ray Domanico is a senior fellow and director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute.
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