High School-Level Assessments: All Students Required to Take Diagnostic Exams

High School-Level Assessments: All Students Required to Take Diagnostic Exams

Why does it matter? Students benefit when states provide a means of ensuring students' unmet needs are identified early enough to be addressed.

Policies included in this indicator demonstrate that the state is making a clear, deliberate attempt to take diagnostic measurement of all students, either through a stand-alone diagnostic test or an effort to use state assessment scores for diagnostic purposes. Currently seven states use assessments administered to all students for diagnostic purposes.

All sources for all data points are available through this link.

Last updated: April 11, 2007

Please contact Jennifer Dounay at 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org with questions or comments about this information.

All students required to take diagnostic exams (not just special education or other subgroup of students)
Alabama No
Alaska No
Arizona No
Arkansas Yes. State uses state-mandated criterion-referenced tests to identify and develop individual academic improvement plans for students who fail to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing and math.
California No. However, the California Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Program offers assessment materials and diagnostic services to secondary level math teachers upon request. A number of tests are available through the program.
Colorado Yes. Although the CSAP is not a diagnostic exam, the state uses longitudinal tracking of results to provide diagnostic academic growth information for students. Implementation of this program is in the early stages.
Connecticut No
Delaware No
District of Columbia No
Florida No. While the PSAT and PLAN are to "provide diagnostic feedback on skills and relate student scores to the probability of success on AP or other advanced course examinations," all 10th graders are not mandated to take these exams. (According to a department report, "Florida currently gives all public schools in the state the opportunity to administer the PSAT (a product of the College Board) or PLAN (a product of ACT, Inc.) to all of their 10th graders, with the cost of the exam covered by state funds.")
Georgia No
Hawaii No
Idaho No
Illinois No. However, 2003 legislation directs that, subject to available federal funds, the state was to "provide additional tests and assessment resources that may be used by school districts for local diagnostic purposes. These tests and resources shall include without limitation additional high school writing, physical development and health, and fine arts assessments."
Indiana No, although the department must "make available to schools optional student diagnostic tools such as actual assessment instruments or computer banks containing appropriate essential skills items to assist schools in implementing the diagnostic assessments."
Iowa No
Kansas No
Kentucky No. However, the Voluntary Early Mathematics Testing Program provides all public and private 10th and 11th graders in the state with the opportunity to take online "a variety of diagnostic mathematics tests to identify knowledge and skills needed for postsecondary education courses." The assessments help students determine weaknesses in math skills so that additional math coursework may be taken in high school, with the goal of reducing the need for students to take remedial math upon entry to postsecondary education.
Louisiana No
Maine No
Maryland No
Massachusetts Yes. Comprehensive diagnostic assessments are required to be administered in grade 10. "Said diagnostic assessments shall identify academic achievement levels of all students in order to inform teachers, parents, administrators and the students themselves, as to individual academic performance. The [state board of education] shall develop procedures for updating, improving or refining the assessment system."
Michigan No. However, the "the Michigan virtual high school [must] provide online test preparation resources for all Michigan high school pupils using web-based tools that align with the Michigan merit exam requirements, including the ACT and the revised MEAP exam." The resources must include diagnostic tools.
Minnesota No. The MCA-II is not a diagnostic exam, although the state uses a growth model to provide longitudinal academic growth information for students.
Mississippi No
Missouri No
Montana No
Nebraska No
Nevada No
New Hampshire No
New Jersey No
New Mexico No
New York No
North Carolina No
North Dakota No
Ohio No
Oklahoma Yes. Although the end-of-instruction tests are not solely diagnostic exams, the test results must be "reported to districts in a manner that yields detailed, diagnostic information for the purpose of guiding instruction and student remediation." The state currently requires students in English II, Algebra I, Biology I, U.S. History to complete the related end-of-instruction assessments. Additonal end-of-instruction tests in English III, Algebra II and Geometry are to be developed and field-tested in 2006-2007 and implemented in 2007-2008.
Oregon No
Pennsylvania Yes. Although the PSSA is not a diagnostic exam, the state uses value-added longitudinal tracking of results to provide diagnostic academic growth information for students. Implementation of this program is in progress.
Rhode Island No
South Carolina Yes. Schools are to use the PSAT or PLAN administered to to 10th graders "as diagnostic tools to provide academic assistance to students whose scores reflect the need for such assistance."

In addition, the South Carolina Education and Economic Development Act (2005 H.B. 3155) requires the state board, by July 2007, to outline criteria for districts to use in identifying students at risk of dropping out or not being adequately prepared for the next grade level. The language likewise requires the criteria to include diagnostic assessments. However, it is not clear at this time whether all students will be required to take diagnostic assessments, or just those identified as being at risk.
South Dakota No
Tennessee No
Texas Statute directs the state commissioner of education, "in coordination with appropriate representatives of institutions of higher education and school districts," to develop "a diagnostic and assistance program for each subject" tested in the high school exit exams—math, English language arts, social studies and science. Current status of this project is unknown.
Utah No
Vermont No
Virginia No
Washington Yes. While the state does not have explicit diagnostic assessments, "The assessment system shall be designed so that the results under the assessment system are used by educators as tools to evaluate instructional practices, and to initiate appropriate educational support for students who have not mastered the essential academic learning requirements at the appropriate periods in the student's educational development."

In addition, the Web site for the office of the superintendent of public instruction must include a guide of diagnostic assessments for voluntary use by districts. By September 2007, the office of the superintendent of public instruction must make "diagnostic assessments that help improve student learning" available to districts. "To the greatest extent possible, the assessments [must] be:
(a) Aligned to the state's grade level expectations;
(b) Individualized to each student's performance level;
(c) Administered efficiently to provide results either immediately or within two weeks;
(d) Capable of measuring individual student growth over time and allowing student progress to be compared to other students across the country;
(e) Readily available to parents; and
(f) Cost-effective.
Districts must be reimbursed by the state for diagnostic assessments administered "in grade nine for the purpose of identifying academic weaknesses, enhancing student planning and guidance, and developing targeted instructional strategies to assist students before the high school Washington assessment of student learning."
West Virginia No
Wisconsin No
Wyoming No
Puerto Rico No

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