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State plans for end of graduation test

Photo by Jayme Langford

Photo by Jayme Langford

The Georgia Board of Education on Wednesday approved a time-line under which the change would take effect for freshman in the fall of 2011. However, the board still has to formally adopt a new graduation plan and the federal government must sign off.

Students currently must pass the state's graduation tests in core subject areas before they can graduate. They have several chances, starting in the junior year.

But state officials in recent years have said the graduation tests are redundant and they believe it's unfair to test students on subjects they may have taken their freshman year. As a result, the state wants to put more emphasis on end-of-course exams, which are given in eight high school classes and count for 15 percent of a student's grade.

Under the plan, as the graduation test is phased out, end-of-course exams would count for 25 percent of a student's final grade. During transition years, students could pass the graduation test or end-of-course tests in four key subjects to earn a diploma.

Students would still have to pass the high school writing exam, until that is replaced by new national standards scheduled to roll out in 2014.