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Students Lobby Lawmakers to End High School Exit Exam

By Adam Pinsker, Multimedia Political Reporter, apinsker@ktuu.com
Published On: Feb 10 2014 03:57:05 PM AKST
Updated On: Feb 11 2014 12:08:29 AM AKST

Education Committee Testing Hearing

JUNEAU -

In his “State of the State” address last month, Governor Sean Parnell asked lawmakers to consider replacing the state’s High School Graduation Qualifying Examination with the SAT, ACT or the WorkKeys(a job skills assessment) exam.

The current high school graduation exam is one of three requirements students must meet to earn their diploma.

"I do not find it necessary. It is based at an 8th grade level. In our school it is easy to pass. Nobody tries on it,” Dillingham High School Junior Brandie Bocatch told the Senate Education Committee Monday.

Education Commissioner Mike Hanley told the panel school districts have implemented their own assessment tests making the HSGQE “redundant.”

Some educators say if you replace the test, you have to make sure students are ready to pass a tougher exam.

"My reminder is we need to focus on the fact that we have a system in place, and the commissioner has done a good job of creating an accountability system that works in the state, and if we make changes we need to make sure we're fair to everybody,” said Kevin Shipley, the Kake City Schools Superintendent. 

Governor Parnell has offered to raise the Base Student Allocation, the formula used to decided how much money schools get per student, if some of his education reforms are met.

The Senate Education Committee is expected to examine the BSA issue next week.