This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
The Obama administration says American schools should produce students who are "college and career ready." What is the best way to do that? The National Center on Education and the Economy has some ideas.
The center will be working with eight states on a project to test board examination systems. Students who volunteer will take board examination classes similar to those found in other parts of the world. Once they pass the exams, they can leave high school as early as the end of the second year.
Marc Tucker is president of this nonprofit organization. He says the aim is to make sure students finish high school with enough skills to succeed in at least a two-year college. He says: In the United States, one is expected to go to high school for four years and you get a diploma just for showing up or attending. It doesn't particularly attest to any level of accomplishment. What we're trying to do here is to change the system in the United States from one that is based on the time that is spent in the seat to one that is based on your actual accomplishments."
The state projects will start as early as September of two thousand eleven. They will involve ten to twenty high schools in each of eight states. The states include Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine and New Hampshire. The others are New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
Some educators and parents do not like the idea of sending students as young as sixteen off to college. They say the students may not be socially ready for college.
But Marc Tucker says students who pass the exams could stay in high school and take a demanding set of exams at the upper division level. That program is designed to prepare students for entrance into a competitive college or university. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided more than one million dollars to start the program. Marc Tucker says he expects interest in the idea to grow.
He says:"Our hope is that this will become the way school is in the United States, it will become the dominant way of going to high school."
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report. Does your country use a board examination system? Tell us about it. You can post your comments at our newly redesigned Web site, voaspecialenglish.com.