Now, I’d like to talk about results after the sixth grade testing program had been in effect in the Hamilton School District for ten years. Well, sadly, the school district was not pleased with the results. Ten years after instituting the program, the school district found the following to be true.
First of all, the school district found that social promotion had not ended in grades one through five. It was not until students had finished the sixth grade that they were tested. The test at the end of grade six identified which students were behind at that point and which students were prepared to move on. However, because the test showed that a number of students were really behind in the sixth grade, it was clear from this that these students had been behind in earlier grades but had been socially promoted. It seemed evident that the sixth grade test had not brought an end to social promotion in grades one through five.
Something else the district found to be true after ten years of sixth grade testing was that, by waiting until the sixth grade to test students, there were just as many unprepared students as there had been before the testing program was instituted and these students were really far behind. Students who had not been prepared in earlier grades had clearly been socially promoted for several years, so by waiting so long to test students, some students had gotten really far behind, just as many students as had been unprepared without the sixth grade testing.
A final conclusion that the district drew ten years after the implementation of sixth grade testing was that more students were dropping out and failing to graduate than before the implementation of the program. Far more students were being held back at the end of the six grade than had been held back before the implementation of the program, and many students had to be held back for more than one year to catch up enough to pass the sixth grade test. Since students who are held back tend to drop out at a really high rate, the percentage of students graduating from high school after the program was implemented was lower than the percentage of students graduating from high school before the program was implemented.
As a result of these unexpected and unacceptable outcomes from the program of sixth grade testing, the Hamilton School District decided to end the testing program after ten years.