28,177 Texas seniors may not graduate

graduatephotoBy Mary Alys Cherry

A total of 262,885 or 90.3 percent of Texas high school seniors in the Class of 2015 passed the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) exams required for graduation.

But 28,177 seniors or nearly 10 percent failed one or more End-of-Course Exams and were unable to graduate. The largest number – 13,490 – only failed one exam but still are unable to graduate unless they take it again and pass this spring.

Here in the Bay Area, Clear Creek ISD reports that it had only 26 students — less than 1 percent of some 2,800 expected to graduate — who failed one or more of the End-of-Course Exams.

Students are required, under House Bill 5 passed by the Texas Legislature in 2013, to pass End-of-Course exams in Algebra I, English 1, English II, Biology and U.S. History, along with their courses to receive a high school diploma. This year’s Class of 2015 is the first class required to pass the five exams in order to graduate.

When the school year began in August, 83.5 percent of the members of the Class of 2015 had already passed all five assessments and faced no more state-mandated tests during their senior year.

“Over the first part of this school year, the hard work of Texas educators to help students who still need to show proficiency in these fundamental core subjects is truly paying off,” Commissioner of Education Michael Williams said.

Among those students who haven’t passed all required tests, English II is the most common test that students are still trying to pass, Williams said, adding that the remaining subjects (in descending order of the tests student still need to pass) include U.S. History; English I; Algebra I; and Biology.

The number of times an individual student has taken an end-of-course exam varies, depending on when the student first took the course associated with the test.

“As a point of comparison, 90.2 percent of students in the Class of 2005 – the first required to take four Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills exams for high school graduation – passed all tests at the time of graduation. In contrast, 90.3 percent of the Class of 2015 has passed all STAAR exams required for graduation, with one more opportunity to take the STAAR EOC assessments before graduation this spring,” Williams added.

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