Mississippi could drop high school history exam

MGN Online

One of the four tests that Mississippi public school students take in high school may be going away.

Posted: Aug 14, 2019 10:11 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - One of the four tests that Mississippi public school students take in high school may be going away.

A testing task force voted by email last week to recommend that the state Board of Education scrap a now-required U.S. history test.

Students formerly had to pass that test, plus exams in English, algebra and biology to graduate. Now, there are alternate routes to graduate, but some Mississippi students still don't earn a diploma because they don't qualify for any of the routes.

Teacher groups and others who say Mississippi students take too many tests are pushing for change. The history test is the only one not required by the federal government or state law, meaning only a vote by the board is required to scrap it.

"Teachers have said repeatedly we have too much testing," said Kelly Riley, executive director of Mississippi Professional Educators and a member of the task force who voted to abolish the test.

Mississippi Department of Education spokeswoman Patrice Guilfoyle said any change wouldn't take place until after this year, meaning the test would be given at least one more time.

The history test also counts in the grading system under which high schools and districts are assigned A-to-F grades. Frequent changes to that system have been unpopular, but Riley said that's a trade teachers are willing to make.

"I think teachers are willing to undergo a change to the rubric in exchange for less testing," she said.

The recommendation will be considered next week by the state's accreditation commission. If that group agrees, Guilfoyle said there were be "an extended period of public comment" before the state Board of Education voted. A minimum of nearly a month of comment is required under state law.

Guilfoyle said state Superintendent Carey Wright hasn't taken a position on the proposed change.

"She has allowed the task force to do its work," Guilfoyle said.

State Board of Education Chair Jason Dean of Madison said removing the test presents "serious policy questions," including the requirement to change the grading model.

"I've got to do some thinking on this," Dean said.

The test has also been unpopular because it's typically taken at the end of junior year. That means a student who doesn't pass has fewer opportunities to retake it, unlike courses that are typically offered in the freshman or sophomore year.

The state is paying testing company DRC of Maple Grove, Minnesota, $2.8 million this year to write and grade the history test, the high school biology test and science tests for fifth and eighth graders.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 15229

Reported Deaths: 723
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds99925
Lauderdale73561
Madison72023
Scott65012
Neshoba63038
Jones59825
Forrest55338
DeSoto5337
Rankin4217
Leake42112
Holmes39728
Copiah3104
Jackson30513
Attala29216
Yazoo2734
Newton2714
Leflore25831
Harrison2577
Lincoln25628
Monroe25525
Lamar2355
Oktibbeha23512
Lowndes2119
Pearl River20931
Pike20211
Adams19615
Noxubee1856
Wayne1771
Warren1719
Washington1687
Covington1652
Bolivar16011
Jasper1574
Smith15011
Lee1496
Kemper14411
Clarke14318
Chickasaw13312
Lafayette1314
Coahoma1214
Carroll11711
Marion1159
Clay1124
Winston1121
Claiborne1112
Lawrence1021
Simpson1010
Yalobusha905
Hancock9011
Tate891
Grenada893
Wilkinson889
Itawamba877
Union835
Marshall833
Montgomery831
Sunflower813
Jefferson Davis772
Tippah7311
Panola703
Webster691
Calhoun644
Humphreys607
Amite601
Walthall550
Tunica543
Prentiss523
Perry503
Choctaw432
Jefferson421
Tishomingo320
Pontotoc323
Stone300
Franklin282
Tallahatchie271
Quitman260
George251
Alcorn171
Benton150
Greene121
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00
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