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To make a case against recently passed legislation in Georgia banning social promotion, one must start by examining the state's rationale for the decision that based on the perceived views teachers have on the issue. Research suggests, however, that teachers hold contradictory opinions concerning the use of standardized tests for high-stakes decisions, such as promotion, and are not aware of the consequences most children endure when they fail a grade. Following a discussion that challenges the claims of success in Chicago, Baltimore, and Texas, the viability of choosing litigation is explored as a strategy to stop the use of high-stakes tests, given the adverse impact they have on protected minorities. From a study of the 39 poorest counties in rural Georgia, relationships among poverty, race, and Georgia Criterion Referenced Competency Test results suggest these tests do have an enormous disparate impact on impoverished African-American children. Because chances for educational attainment will be severely limited by this test, most African-American children will be discouraged from achieving a high school diploma. Rather than mandate a ban on social promotion, the state of Georgia should be in relentless pursuit of improving socioeconomic conditions, educational policy, and pedagogy. (Contains 52 references and 15 tables.) (Author/RT)

Descriptors: Academic Failure, Black Students, Court Litigation, Elementary Secondary Education, High Stakes Tests, Poverty, Race, Social Promotion, State Legislation

Autor: Livingston, Donald R.; Livingston, Sharon M.


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