From the Baltimore Sun:
One of the most sought-after public charter schools in Baltimore has stopped administering an entrance placement exam after city schools CEO Andrés Alonso expressed concern that the practice — the only one of its kind in the city — could discourage some applicants.Full article here.
The test at Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) Ujima Academy in Northwest Baltimore, Alonso said, could deter families of lower-performing students from seeking enrollment.
Since 2003, a year after opening in Baltimore, the school has used a diagnostic exam to determine whether students seeking to enter sixth grade were performing at comparable reading and math levels as KIPP Ujima's fifth-grade classes. If potential sixth-graders did not pass the test, they could enroll, but would have to repeat fifth grade.
Alonso said he became aware of the test last year and asked the school to stop administering it after reading a description of it. Until it agreed to stop the practice, KIPP Ujima's website said the test was a way to determine whether a "student has the skills necessary to succeed" at the school.
"I felt that communicating to incoming parents of sixth graders that their child would need to repeat a grade on the basis of a diagnostic assessment … represented a potential deterrent to parents of those students needing the most help," Alonso said in a statement.