State testing proposal: Waste of time and money?

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - One Mississippi lawmaker says students are taking too many tests and he wants this to end. House District 75 Representative Tom Miles is from Scott County. Right now, he's a man on a mission. It involves his concerns about four state subject area tests that students in Mississippi have to take.

Often referred to as "exit exams", in the past students in Mississippi were required to pass the tests in order to graduate. Other options are now available, and Miles says the tests are virtually a waste of time and money.

"It's not working," says Miles. "The facts are there. We're one of only 13 states, and we're at the bottom on education. Why are the other 37 states not doing it if it was a working solution for people? Don't you think that the other 37 states would do it as well?"

That's why Representative Miles is preparing to introduce a measure to his colleagues in the legislature next year. If approved, it would do away with those state tests and instead use students' ACT scores to measure how much they've learned.

"In Mississippi right now we already pay for the ACT for every 11th grader in the state of Mississippi to take," says Miles. "It's your grades and your ACT score. It has nothing to do with what you made on a state test. You can't get any scholarship money for what you made on the state test, and no college has ever asked the question, 'What did you make on your state tests?' They ask, 'What did you make on the ACT?'"

Meridian High School's principal supports the proposed change.

"Our students come and ask, 'When is the ACT going to be given?' says Hubbard. "We don't have students coming and asking, 'When will the state tests be given?' That's because they know the ACT carries weight for them to get in college."

Representative Miles also proposed the change to lawmakers last year. Calling it an issue with growing bi-partisan support, he's hopeful that next year the measure will pass.

In all, 27 states no longer require students to take the subject area tests. Alabama is one of those.