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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.

Cases: 514171

Reported Deaths: 10285
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34920557
DeSoto33270432
Hinds32652642
Jackson24876391
Rankin22516404
Lee16366245
Madison14932283
Jones14129247
Forrest13785260
Lauderdale12279324
Lowndes11314193
Lamar10663140
Pearl River9720244
Lafayette8855143
Hancock7839132
Washington7553169
Oktibbeha7216138
Monroe7036179
Pontotoc7003109
Warren6872178
Panola6768135
Neshoba6732210
Marshall6686142
Bolivar6451151
Union640898
Pike5933156
Alcorn5887107
Lincoln5533136
George510380
Prentiss505385
Tippah492783
Itawamba4857107
Scott478199
Adams4771125
Tate4765117
Leflore4736144
Copiah457095
Yazoo456692
Simpson4554117
Wayne443172
Covington434695
Sunflower4315106
Marion4279112
Coahoma4238109
Leake414090
Newton395782
Tishomingo384894
Grenada3777109
Stone365766
Jasper340866
Attala338790
Winston317892
Chickasaw316167
Clay312578
Clarke301295
Calhoun285949
Holmes271889
Smith269452
Yalobusha244247
Tallahatchie232053
Greene224749
Walthall221866
Lawrence219141
Perry213456
Amite209857
Webster206248
Noxubee188743
Montgomery181857
Carroll174941
Jefferson Davis173843
Tunica163339
Benton153139
Kemper145041
Choctaw136727
Claiborne134439
Humphreys132139
Franklin126029
Quitman107628
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson96934
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 845761

Reported Deaths: 16119
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1161862004
Mobile742411381
Madison53315732
Shelby38351369
Baldwin38104589
Tuscaloosa36052641
Montgomery34492781
Lee25590263
Calhoun22598518
Morgan22459406
Etowah20026518
Marshall18790316
Houston17741425
St. Clair16904358
Limestone16153219
Cullman16067303
Elmore15912294
Lauderdale14991306
Talladega14209299
DeKalb12985269
Walker12067380
Blount10729192
Autauga10526157
Jackson10170194
Coffee9425192
Colbert9341208
Dale9024192
Tallapoosa7273201
Russell708865
Chilton7042170
Escambia6956143
Covington6943195
Franklin6338108
Chambers5785142
Marion5413130
Dallas5295209
Pike5123109
Clarke484886
Lawrence4831129
Winston4780110
Geneva4643136
Bibb434594
Barbour369980
Butler3439100
Marengo342393
Monroe337466
Randolph334867
Pickens333988
Fayette330085
Henry320766
Hale318489
Cherokee318363
Crenshaw260777
Washington256952
Cleburne254560
Lamar251953
Clay251169
Macon245064
Conecuh193162
Coosa185547
Lowndes178268
Wilcox177638
Bullock152545
Perry141840
Sumter139241
Greene130245
Choctaw93228
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