Students must take responsibility

To the Editor:
I recently read with great interest the story covering several BHS students who will not be graduating with their class this year due to their failure to pass a standardized test.  
One of the students remarked that they should be able to participate in graduation because they put forth their best effort and are just apparently poor test takers.  I will agree that test taking is a skill, and like any other skill it needs to be practiced.  However, to just allow someone to graduate without meeting all the requirements simply cheapens the accomplishments of those who did study, practice and pass the exam.
One of the purposes of a standardized comprehensive exam is to show that the information has not only been learned, but that it has been retained.  When you pursue higher forms of academic achievement, there is a foregone conclusion that you have. reasonably mastered your previous courses of study.
I am an RN with a bachelor of science degree in nursing.  I spent several years in college, putting forth my best effort and graduated with a reasonably good grade point average.  However, I still had to take my state board examination which was indeed a comprehensive, two-day exam of my nursing knowledge.  I studied not only my notes and text from nursing school, but took a course in test--taking as well.  I passed with flying colors, but it took a lot of preparation on my part.
How would these young people or their parents feel about being sick in a hospital, and the person responsible for their life was not required to have a minimum amount of knowledge about diseases, medications, side effects and assessment skills.  Personally, I wouldn't let any such person within 10 feet of someone I loved and cared about. 
Knowledge is only useful if it can be recalled and built upon, and that takes studying and reviewing.  There are no shortcuts to a good, solid education.  The first step is personal responsibility on the part of the student and the people they are accountable to on a daily basis.
Bridgeton 06/12/01