SC Legislature Approves Bill To Drop Exit Exam As Must For Gradu - WSPA.com

SC Legislature Approves Bill To Drop Exit Exam As Must For Graduation

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State lawmakers gave final approve to bill that would eliminate high school exit exams. State lawmakers gave final approve to bill that would eliminate high school exit exams.
LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. -

A bill approved by state legislators Wednesday that would eliminate the requirement that South Carolina high school students pass an exit exam in order to graduate is now headed to Gov. Haley’s desk.

Since 1986, students have taken an exit exam. Currently, sophomores are given what's called HSAP or High School Assessment Program.

It consists of two tests – English language arts and math. According to the state Department of Education, 82 percent of students passed both section on the first attempt last year.

“It is kind of ridiculous that one test is going to determine whether we get a diploma or not,” said Emma Milner, a tenth grader at Clinton High School.

Milner and 260 other students at Clinton High finished taking the HSAP Thursday.

“I think it is time for a new and different approach,” said Laurens County School District 56 Superintendent Dr. David O’Shields.

But O’Shields is feeling relieved knowing the state may soon do away with the exit exam.

“That doesn't mean that they [students] shouldn't be held accountable,” says O’Shields. “It merely means that we have to look at all options to help students be successful and not look at selecting and sorting students into being unsuccessful."

Students would instead take a combination of a college and career readiness assessment as well as WorkKeys, which is a job-skills a job-skills evaluation.

The HSAP may still be given, but only as a way to gauge schools' progress toward meeting state and federal goals.

“It is definitely important to graduate,” says Clinton High School Principal Maureen Tiller. “We also need to have an emphasis now for our students on what is past graduation -- going on to a post-secondary school, a two-year, a four-year school or right into the workforce."

As part of the bill, students who did not graduate high school solely because they failed the exit exam would be able to petition their school district for a diploma.

The bill would take effect beginning with the class of 2015. 

Neighboring states -- North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama have either deleted the requirement or started phasing it out.

To read the bill, click here.

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Emily Pace
Emily is a general assignment reporter covering Buncombe, Polk, Rutherford and Henderson Counties.
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