Emergency State Testing to High School Seniors - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Emergency State Testing to High School Seniors

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The Mississippi Department of Education is extending emergency state testing for high school seniors trying to graduate. If the student passes, a diploma will be given.

The test is only available for seniors who completed all graduation requirements but failed only one of the four state exams.  On Monday, 22 Hattiesburg High School students will retake the U.S. History, English, Biology or Algebra state test.

"We have taken full advantage of it, we have tutoring sessions al day today, on Saturday and also on Monday on the bus ride to Starkville they'll be doing tutoring as well," says Hattiesburg High Principal, Robert Sanders.

Students are required to get 25 out of 60 questions correct in order to pass. The tests are not timed.

"If our students are successful on this test Monday they should be able to participate in our graduation ceremony on Friday."

The amount of students having to retake the tests raises some questions. "When we consider the high numbers of students that are struggling to pass their tests, we want to look collaboratively not just at the test itself but just at the process and we always look reflectively," says Sanders. The principal says he knows state testing isn't going anywhere that's why teachers are innovating ways to teach the material. "Every year we go back to the drawing board and look at our practices," assures Sanders.

So, why are these tests so important? Students' scores are used to rate school districts on the A through F grading scale. Passing the test affects graduation rates which is something that is now being factored into the new funding for public schools. "With the new accountability model, graduation rates are part of that, this is extremely important."

If your child is retaking one of the state tests follow the link for practice tests provided by the Mississippi Department of Education: http://www.mde.k12.ms.us/student-assessment/student-assessment-practice-tests 

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