Students and teachers react to graduation test eliminated - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Students and teachers react to graduation test eliminated

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BLOOMINGDALE, GA (WTOC) -

It took a decade but the Georgia graduation tests are gone.

The state Board of Education voted to eliminate the tests which have been a subject of criticism, and an obstacle for students graduating high school since 1995.

It's one topic teachers, prinicipals and students seem to agree on. They all say it was time for the graduation tests to go.

This year's senior classes will be the last to take the Georgia High School Graduation Test as a final decider of graduation. All students will still take the written form, but the common complaint about the overall test has always been whether it was fair to students.

"I think if you pass all your classes you shouldn't have to take one test to determine if you will graduate or not," Maci Lorenz told WTOC.

Lorenz is a junior at South Effingham High School and took the four day graduation exam a month ago.

"I thought it was extremely difficult. It went back to things we learned in middle school, in ninth grade and was completly irrelevant to what we have learned in the past two years," Lorenz said.

Pass or fail, for her it won't decide whether or not she graduates. The state is doing away with the graduation tests.

"I think it is a good positive thing to get rid of it," Lorenz said.

"I am happy it's gone," Christy O'Sako told WTOC.

O'Sako has been a math teacher at South Effingham H.S. for 13 years. Like Lorenz pointed out, her biggest criticism about the tests was it forced students to remember things they learned as far back as 7th grade, even if they already passed the class.

"Why do you have to remember the small little things when you have a general knowledge already? When you are making them do that one day, one test, it's not fair to them," O'Sako said.

"It is better accountability for the students, teachers and school itself," Dr. Mark Winters said.

With graduate testing phased out, South Effingham High principal, Dr. Mark Winters says focus will be where it should be, on year end course exams which will now weigh larger in a student's final grade.

"The knowledge should be fresh in their mind instead of trying to remember what they were taught two years ago, really," Winters said. "I really do think our students will do better and students across state will do better."

It won't factor into Lorenz's graduation plans, but she still wants to know how she did on her graduation exam.

"I guess it won't matter if I passed but I still want to pass anyway," Lorenz said.

Lorenz is one of 100,000 high school juniors and seniors who have taken the graduation test in the past few months. Georgia joins Florida and other states in eliminating the graduation exam.

Dr. Winters said the re-focus on year end course exams will now give immediate feedback to faculty on changes they may need to make in course instruction and order of curriculum. 

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