Test Prevents Students' Graduation - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/16/03

Test Prevents Students' Graduation

If you're a Georgia high school student, you want to make sure you're ready for these tests. If you don't pass, you don't graduate. But is it fair to have a high school diploma riding on one set of tests? And they can be pretty tough. They're designed to test what you learned throughout high school. You'll have five chances to take the test starting in your junior year, but at some schools, anywhere from ten to 18 percent of students fail them.

When the Groves High School Class of 2003 receive their diplomas, several of their classmates will not be among them.

"We have caps and gowns and everything and that's money down the drain because we can't even march," said senior Raquel Manning.

Manning and Tofe Crawford say they're good students, but because they failed the science portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test by less than six points, they won't be graduating. Crawford is worried about how it will affect her future with the Georgia Air National Guard.

"I just feel like the punishment we've received, it shouldn't be," she said. "We've worked hard all these years."

But has school taught them how many chromosomes are in a butterfly egg cell? Or if you cross red roses with white, what percentage will be red? These are actual questions from the Georgia High School Graduation test.

"The standards are in place for a reason, and grades are given for a reason," said Gary Lackey, Johnson High School's principal. "Testing is done for a reason."

School officials say they can't change the standards. They offer tutoring to help students and give them five chances to take the tests. But some say it's not enough.

"The tutors and the classes they gave to us don't help," said Crawford.

"Once I was thinking about South University; however, they told me I couldn't go there unless I passed the test," said Manning.

The two will have another chance to take the test in July, but that also means they won't be able to graduate with their class. State lawmakers considered changing the Georgia High School Graduation tests to testing at at the end of each course, but dropped the idea.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com

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