Education comm. defers STAAR test as part of student's final grade.

GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- Across the state of Texas parents and students alike are concerned about a recent requirement that they say could make or break a student's chances of graduating. This year standardized tests were supposed to count as 15 percent of a student's final grade, but a decision today by the State Education Commissioner changed that.

Local education professionals were in the audience Friday when Commissioner Michael Williams signed a letter deferring the 15 percent rule. Sherman ISD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Tyson Bennett was there when the announcement was made. He says the decision was well received.

This announcement comes just a day after Governor Rick Perry suggested the deferral. Now Texas schools have the choice whether or not they will count the new end-of-course exams as 15 percent of a students final grade for this school year.

Denison High School students all had one thing to say when it comes to the end-of-course-exams.

"I think they're going to be so hard for me," Ida Moreno said.

"Pretty much a lot harder," Ashley Wood said.

"They are hard and their timed and that's too much pressure on us," Sierra Delphin said.

Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott says until Friday the school was required to count the exams as 15 percent of a student 's final grade.

"I think it's a good thing to defer it at least through this year and study it and find out, you know if it really in fact is something that we can support and its good for the kids." Dr. Scott said.

Last year was the first time students took tests under the new STAAR program, which is considered to be more difficult than previous standardized exams. Dr. Scott believes a more developed curriculum would help students prepare for these harder tests.

"We hadn't had time to to put the curriculum in place. To deal with it sufficiently," Dr. Scott said.

Dr. Scott says one bad final exam grade could not only keep a student from graduating, but from going to college.

"Say a student was right on the boarder line and made a 75 in the course and did poorly on the End-of-Course exam, which usually doesn't happen, it could put them in danger of failing the course," Dr. Scott said.

Dr. Scott says he believes in testing, but says there is too much emphasis put on standardized exams.

"We're putting to much emphasis on a one time test. There's a lot more to evaluate and judge then just that one time test," Dr. Scott said.

Denison, Sherman and Bonham ISD say their school boards will vote in the near future on whether they will uphold the 15 percent rule, but all three schools say it is not likely. Last year the school districts voted to not count the STAAR exams towards a students final grade.


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