Yakima Herald-Republic editorial supports graduation tests: “After dumping billions into schools, don’t dump tests, too.”

We’ve written before of the importance of assessment-based graduation requirements, which are also supported by editorial boards across the state. Today the Yakima Herald-Republic adds its editorial endorsement.. 

For the past 25 years, standardized testing has been a key gauge of student learning. It was admittedly an imperfect gauge, and the state dropped tests that did not fit well with curricula or with other educational goals. But last year, the Legislature settled on a reasonable compromise that eliminated a biology exam but called for English and math testing in the 10th grade; those students who didn’t pass the test then were to have two years to gain proficiency in the subject and then graduate.

This compromise struck a balance between burdensome testing and necessary accountability for students and teachers. It also provided a tool to evaluate school district performance.

The editorial notes the legislative efforts to back away from that reasonable compromise and adds,

The Legislature should reject these bills. Statistics show that in the past decade of required testing, graduation rates rose 7 percentage points and now hover around 80 percent. In addition, the percentage of high school graduates needing remedial education in state community and technical colleges declined.

As the evidence mounts that the system is working well, as intended, it’s mystifying why anyone would sound retreat. As the editorial concludes: 

The Legislature should concern itself with preparing students, not pleasing a political pressure group.