D.C. Students to Be Tested on Sex Education
September 16, 2011
Students in D.C. public schools soon will undergo health education assessments as a way to guide instruction on topics such as HIV, STDs, contraception, and drug use. The 50-question exam, to be introduced next spring, will be the nation's first statewide standardized test on health and sex education, according to the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, which developed the assessment for grades five, eight and 10.
The District has some of the country's highest rates of STDs, teen pregnancy, and childhood obesity. While periodic surveys have measured student attitudes toward risky behavior, the new test will help inform educators' understanding of what the system's 75,000 students know and why they behave as they do.
"We don't know as a system or as a city what knowledge kids have about these topics," said Brian Pick, deputy chief of curriculum and instruction for D.C. Public Schools.
The assessment is based on a provision of the Healthy Schools Act of 2010, passed by the D.C. Council to address health concerns. Questions for the District exam have been adapted locally from a sample devised by the Council of Chief State School Officers to improve health education. The test also has been aligned with standards approved by the D.C. State Board of Education in 2008.
Adam Tenner, executive director of MetroTeenAIDS, welcomed the new assessment, citing the adage "what gets measured gets done." At present, he said, "We are not preparing teachers or students to get good, high-quality sex and reproductive education."
09.15.2011; Bill Turque
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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