Wyoming high-schoolers must keep taking college prep exam

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CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — Wyoming lawmakers decided that 11th-graders must take the ACT college preparation exam for now, despite a recommendation to offer an alternative test that measures the ability of students to enter the workforce.

Critics say the state depends too heavily on the ACT exam to measure student performance and it doesn't cover the state's own standards and curriculum.

A committee of lawmakers met last week. Proposed legislation to change the requirements include revising state statutes, limiting student testing time to less than 1 percent of their total hours, and holding schools serving at-risk students accountable to other standards created by a panel of education professionals.

Members of a task force proposed making the ACT optional for 11th-graders and allowing students to choose other tests, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://tinyurl.com/qa59stq ). The Wyoming Assessment Task Force is a group of 26 educators, parents and school administrators reviewing statewide tests.

Walt Wilcox, vice superintendent of the Natrona County School District and a member of the Department of Education board of trustees, said the ACT is a predictor of how well a student will do in a college class.

"I don't know that every student needs to take the ACT," he said.

Another proposal would limit the number of hours students spend on testing each year to less than 1 percent. Educators said that percentage is between nine to 11 hours, depending on the grade level.

The Obama administration has also recommended less time devoted to testing.


Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com

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