State board decides grad exam’s future

Published 12:08am Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Alabama High School Graduation Exam that has been administered to Alabama Public Schools for 30 years is no longer a requirement for graduation.

The State Board of Education passed a measure Thursday that included phasing out exiting exams for high school students.

“This particular policy only applies to students who were first-time ninth graders in the 2010-2011 school year and after,” Erica Pippins, the public information specialist for the Alabama State Department of Education, said.

The memorandum says students will not be required to pass the AHSGE, but those whose transcripts reflects a “non attempted” or failed status in one subject area will have the option to continue to take the appropriate tests.

Pippins said the Alabama Public School system is in the process of administering another form of tests that will better serve high school students.

“We are moving toward end-of-course exams for the required major courses,” she said. “They are already in place for 10th grade English and Algebra I, which, along with the ACT given to all 11th graders beginning this year, will be a better measurement of how students are meeting the Alabama College and Career Standards.”

She said the ACT, which can have a testing service fee of more than $50, will be given free.

In the memorandum, the decision to do away with high school exit graduation exams came Sept. 10, 2009 when the State Board voted unanimously on the resolution.

The memorandum, dated July 11, 2012, notified school systems that first-time ninth graders of 2010-2011 would be the last cohort required to pass the AHSGE to receive a high school diploma.

The board decided to vote on the resolution half a year before originally planned.

“That’s because we’ve moved ahead with the Alabama College and Career Standards,” she said. “We have assessments that are aligned with those, and those assessments have been implemented for English and mathematics.”

In a letter addressed to the parents and students, notifying them of the revised graduation requirements, State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tommy Bice said the State Department of Education is looking forward to the new policy.

“We are excited about this new direction of returning to a focus of assessments being used to inform instruction and enhance learning for the students we serve across the state of Alabama,” he said.

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