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New exams are ready for high school students

The new “end of course” (EOC) assessments for math are ready to be rolled out this spring, thanks in part to the Bainbridge High School math department working hard to get ready for the material in the exam.

At the most recent school board meeting, Associate Supt. Julie Goldsmith said the new exams will replace the high school proficiency exam.

The EOC exam is mandated by state law in which the superintendent of public instruction will develop end of course assessments for algebra and geometry courses. Those assessments will be used to demonstrate that a student meets that standard in those courses.

Students who are in an algebra and/or geometry class will take the test this spring, including one sixth-grade student who is in algebra. About 150 algebra students and 250 geometry students at BHS will take the test.

Students who have already taken one class or the other would take the EOC exam for one class and the EOC makeup exam for the other. Students who have taken both classes would take both makeup exams. Seniors and juniors can pass one EOC or one EOC makeup exam to meet the math graduation requirement set forth by the state, while sophomores need to pass both EOC or EOC makeup exams by the time they graduate in 2013 to satisfy the math graduation requirement.

“We’re very excited about this change,” Goldsmith told the board. “We think it makes much more sense that students will have that assessment regardless of what grade level they are in.”

Dan McLean, who teaches precalculus at the high school, was part of one of two teams formed by the math department to work on changing their curriculum due to the constant changes set forth by the state.

He showed the board how the two teams have worked on developing study guides, visual aids and other materials to help get their students ready to take the exam. The math department also applied and was selected to give a pilot exam in October to see how the kids handled the new exam.

“It’s a pretty big task,” he said. “But we want every algebra student to have the best instruction and preparation for what the test will look like.”

There is still confusion on how the makeup exams will be handled, but McLean and Goldsmith said that the state is dealing with that situation.

Four bills are currently being debated in the Legislature that deal with proposed changes in the current testing laws.

Two of those bills may postpone the new tests for a few years.

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