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As a 2012 graduate of Northern High School, I can attest to the irrelevance of the Maryland High School Assessments in our public school systems. In reference to the editorial “Graduation tests prove little” [Nov. 7, The Calvert Recorder], I fully agree with the points raised by the writer.

With only one student out of 60,000 in the entire state kept from graduation due to “failing” scores, the HSAs have no practical place within our current educational system. Those who do not graduate do not fail merely due to the failing of the HSAs, but rather from other factors. Some of these factors our educational systems can repair; others they cannot.

One area where our schools excel is in the transmission of knowledge. This does not just include the knowledge needed for passing an academic test, but also the knowledge of communication and transmission of ideas with our peers and elders. The formal knowledge we receive is illustrated by our state’s exemplary test scores, ranking among the top in the nation. The more “unofficial” knowledge that students receive allows them to establish themselves within a peer culture where they can come into contact with others’ ideas and beliefs. This kind of exposure that our schools excel in facilitating creates future active and successful citizens within our growing society.

However, this transmission of knowledge comes at a great cost to those within our educational systems. Our schools do not always necessarily assist students in being as successful as they could potentially be. One hurdle to success that thousands of students face is the educational tracking system that many counties enforce. This tracking begins at an early age (third grade in Calvert County) and continues throughout the rest of the student’s primary education. Once placed in an educational “track,” it is very difficult to advance to a more rigorous upper level track. Many students in our schools are not being pushed to the fullest of their abilities based upon a decision made when they were in third grade — that is, what track they were put in. The resulting consequence is that some students will never reach their maximum potential, while others will struggle throughout their primary education.

I fully respect the efforts and determination Calvert County Public Schools has put into enforcing state mandates such as the HSAs. As a recent graduate, I have had the opportunity to see that the HSAs serve no purpose in a system that is already extremely successful in producing educated individuals and, therefore, should not be required for all students to take.

Justin Mauersberg, Owings