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State board officially votes to eliminate graduation test

Photo by Jason Braverman

Photo by Jason Braverman

The GHSGT, which has been the gateway to high school graduation since 1995, no longer will be given to students starting with next fall's freshman class and will be phased out for current students.

"I appreciate the state board's vote that finally allows us to move away from the GHSGT," state school Superintendent John Barge said after the board's unanimous vote.

All students are required to pass eight mandatory classes to graduate from high school. The plan approved Wednesday ups the pressure on them, starting with next year's freshman class, to score better on the end-of-course tests in each of the eight classes.

Those tests currently account for 15 percent of a student's final class grade, but starting with next year's freshman class that will be upped to 20 percent.

In addition, those end-of-course test results will take on greater significance for individual schools and school districts. Starting next year they will replace the graduation test results as a measure of whether a school makes adequate yearly progress, a benchmark of the federal No Child Left Behind Act, said Melissa Fincher, associate state school superintendent of assessment and accountability.

As for current high school students, they will be allowed to substitute a passing end-of-course test in each content area for the equivalent content section of the graduation test. The graduation test can still be an option for those who aren't successful on their end-of-course tests, and their test scores stay at 15 percent of their class grade.

All students -- current and new -- still must pass the state writing test, which was one part of the five-part GHSGT.

Barge said he believes the end-of-course tests are a better gauge than the GHSGT of how much a student has learned.