In 2013, Texas lawmakers made it a lot easier for high school seniors to graduate. This year, the legislature is set to do it again.
Before the 2013 changes, seniors would have had to pass 15 end-of-course exams to graduate. That was too much, the House and Senate decided, so the number of required exams was reduced to five before many of the tests were even administered. Among the spiked tests: chemistry, physics and Algebra II.
The remaining tests have continued to give students trouble, however, as about 28,000 seniors have yet to clear the five remaining exams -- Algebra I, English I, biology, English II and U.S. History -- they need to pass to walk across the stage with their classmates this spring, according to The Dallas Morning News.
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The Texas Senate has already passed a bill that would help the uncredentialed seniors graduate. On Tuesday, the Texas House passed a similar bill, which would require that only three of the five remaining end-of-course exams be passed by a student with a passing GPA, assuming they are approved for graduation by a special committee. The bills' proponents say easing graduation requirements is necessary because the Texas Education Agency did not provide adequate prep materials for the exams.
Opponents claim that the legislation, written by Dan Huberty, a Republican from Houston, would allow for the return of social promotion.
"We are disappointed the Senate is going to effectively eliminate any substantive requirement for juniors and seniors to prove they are college- or career-ready when they graduate," Bill Hammond, the president of the Texas Association of Business told the Morning News in March.
In order to pass the Algebra I and biology exams, students only need to answer 37 percent of questions correctly.