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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: 261167

Reported Deaths: 5713
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17561191
Hinds16687329
Harrison14050202
Rankin11102217
Jackson10729188
Lee9014143
Madison8495168
Jones6607114
Forrest6135122
Lauderdale6067192
Lowndes5490120
Lafayette511794
Lamar499865
Washington4904125
Bolivar4087109
Oktibbeha403581
Panola380981
Pontotoc374757
Monroe3651106
Warren3649103
Union353263
Marshall352069
Neshoba3464154
Pearl River3422105
Leflore3090109
Lincoln304287
Sunflower290373
Hancock288461
Tate279062
Alcorn270754
Pike268180
Itawamba266662
Scott256048
Yazoo253756
Prentiss251153
Copiah247649
Tippah247550
Coahoma245954
Simpson241471
Leake236167
Grenada222471
Marion220273
Covington219072
Adams212370
Wayne208432
Winston205870
George203539
Newton197346
Attala196461
Tishomingo193861
Chickasaw188444
Jasper177838
Holmes171368
Clay164237
Tallahatchie155635
Stone149525
Clarke144762
Calhoun139922
Smith127725
Yalobusha121134
Walthall114037
Greene112929
Noxubee112225
Montgomery111236
Carroll106422
Lawrence105617
Perry104031
Amite100826
Webster95424
Tunica88221
Claiborne87825
Jefferson Davis87727
Benton84823
Humphreys84224
Kemper80020
Quitman7049
Franklin69617
Choctaw62513
Wilkinson59625
Jefferson56520
Sharkey44817
Issaquena1606
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
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