Why College Students Might Take 'Exit Exams'

Article excerpt

Byline: Teresa Mask Daily Herald Staff Writer

Illinois students soon may be tested on what they learned in college as part of a new accountability plan being considered today by the state's board of higher education.

The goal is to test students after sophomore year when they have completed their general education studies and again before they graduate. The assessment would be built into the curriculum.

If the plan is approved at the board meeting in Evanston today, it would be the first time the state required colleges and universities to evaluate student learning in certain programs. Students who go into particular fields, such as education, for instance, already are tested because they must be certified to get a job.

Officials said results of the mandatory assessments wouldn't hurt a student's chances of graduating or a professor's standing with the university. Right now, the results would be used only to help shape future curriculums or to determine whether certain topics should be taught differently, officials said.

The testing wouldn't necessarily mirror the standardized exams many of these students took in high school. Board members say they are looking for more creative ways to gauge what students know. …