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State to Pass Students While Killing Most Testing Requirements

JACKSON, MS (Ben Caxton) — Mississippi’s education leaders have temporarily relaxed graduation requirements for third graders and high school seniors. Last week the state Board of Education voted to halt state standardized tests and let schools and districts keep their current A-to-F ratings for another year; now high school students will earn graduation credits for incomplete courses and seniors will be allowed to graduate this year as long as they meet other district and state requirements including at least 24 core course credits. High school students will be allowed to graduate without passing end-of-course tests in algebra, biology, English and U.S history or achieving alternate test scores as long as they pass the underlying course. That’s true even if students aren’t seniors but are taking the courses this year. Additionally, third graders won’t have to pass a standardized test of reading skills and can advance to fourth grade if they meet other normal requirements. Kindergarten students won’t be administered a dyslexia screener this spring, schools won’t have to teach for at least 180 days or 330 minutes a day and students won’t be cited for truancy. College students seeking to become teachers won’t have to meet minimum test scores to enter teacher preparation through the end of 2021, and students seeking to earn teaching licenses this year won’t have to complete 12 weeks of student teaching. Despite easing so many rules, state Superintendent Carey Wright said administrators are working hard to make sure learning continues and the COVID-19 crisis is not time lost for school children.

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