Student Achievement › Multiple Measures
For almost two decades, Rhode Island educators have been at the forefront of using several ways to assess children's many skills — a practice called "multiple measures."
Rhode Island was the first state to take the unusual step of creating a high-school diploma system that examines a collection of results, credits and student work to determine whether a child is ready for college or the modern workplace. By themselves, tests can not block a child's chances of earning a meaningful diploma. Across the U.S., 26 states now withhold diplomas from students who do not pass "high-stakes" tests — although the number fluctuates with changing politics. Rhode Island's system is "high-stakes" in that students deemed not ready will not receive diplomas, but not on the basis of tests alone.
More info on the Rhode Island diploma system is available on the RIDE website.
Even with the use of multiple measures, state and local tests matter.
Just as medical tests — blood work, mammograms, bone scans — tell us nothing about the quality of our lives, they do help us identify areas which might be weak or even threatening to the support of life itself. Standardized achievement tests help us know when a closer examination is necessary. They offer all stakeholders reliable, useful information about how well we are nourishing the future, the kids' and our own.