The Free Press, Mankato, MN

April 23, 2013

Brynaert would change grad test requirements


The Free Press

ST. PAUL — Rep. Kathy Brynaert’s plan to replace high-stakes graduation tests with tests designed to prepare students for work or college was included in the education finance bill passed by the House.

Though the changes would mean that high school students would no longer need to pass a test to graduate, Brynaert told her fellow representatives that the new system would not abandon accountability.

The new tests would include “rigorous expectations,” the Mankato Democrat said, and have “clear, universal benchmarks throughout the system.”

And the tests would accomplish something the old ones didn’t, she said, by helping students plan both their high school courses of study and their plans after high school.

“Students’ interests, skills and aspirations will be aligned with their academic journeys,” she said.

The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce has advocated against the elimination of the grad tests, arguing that the lack of this barrier will reduce the value of a high school diploma.

Sen. Kevin Dahle, D-Northfield, has written similar language on testing reform that’s included in the Senate’s education finance bill.