“Diplomas are not participation trophies!”

Matt Barnum:

Oregon’s decision to pause its proficiency requirement through 2028 is part of a growing national trend that started a decade ago.

In 2012, 25 states required students to pass an exam to graduate, encompassing nearly 70% of American public school students. By the time the class of 2023 graduated last spring, just eight states had graduation tests in place, according to an analysis by FairTest, a nonprofit that opposes graduation testing.

At least three more are now considering similar moves.

States have dropped or scaled back these tests, commonly known as exit exams, for a number of reasons.

Many began adopting the Common Core—guidelines for what students should know in math and reading—in 2010 and found their graduation exams were no longer aligned with the new, tougher criteria.

“With that collision of higher standards, higher expectations…you saw a lot of states then walking away from their graduation assessment requirement,” said Anne Hyslop, director of policy development at All4Ed, a nonprofit that seeks to improve high-school graduates’ college and career readiness.