Certificates of Educational Attainment for In-School Youth: Acceptability and Feasibility

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Delaware Education Research & Development Center
Tying academic diplomas to high stakes assessments raises concerns that some high school students who do not perform well on standards-based tests may leave school without academic credentials, or they may choose to drop out rather than receive only a certificate of attendance. Local educators proposed addressing these concerns by capitalizing on the potential overlap between K-12 and adult education academic standards. It was hoped that by using an established adult education certification process (CEAs) to document students' increasing academic skills at multiple points in their high school careers, students might be more motivated to stay in school and continue to pursue a diploma. Because little was known about the potential benefits and consequences of instituting such a use of CEAs within the current K-12 system of standards and accountability assessment, this study addressed two major questions. 1)Did students, parents, teachers, and school administrators consider CEAs to be an acceptable method for documenting student achievement and progress on the Delaware Content Standards? 2)How feasible was it for school staff to gather and evaluate CEA assessment materials? the concept of CEAs for in-school youth generated positive comments from Students, parents, teachers and administrators. However, participants identified problems with feasibility and raised concerns about implementation contexts and target groups.
adult education, CEAs, motivation, diploma, academic standards