Standardized Testing

Many high schoolers hoping to attend George Washington University in Washington, D.C., one of the top private universities in the country, breathed a sigh of relief this week.

GWU announced it will no longer require applicants to take the SAT or ACT.

The move comes after the school formed a task force to study the pros and cons of going "test-optional." GWU attracts lots of high-achieving students who do well on both exams, but the task force concluded that the school's reliance on these tests was excluding some high-achieving students who simply don't test well.

Both houses of Congress have now passed versions of the bill that would update the largest federal education law, known as No Child Left Behind, for the first time since 2001. They are big, meaty and complicated, and now they have to be reconciled into one messy Dagwood sandwich of a bill to go to the president.

If you've followed education in the news or at the book store in the past couple of years, chances are you've heard of "grit." It's often defined as the ability to persevere when times get tough, or to delay gratification in pursuit of a goal.

Joey Palacios / TPR News

AUSTIN — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill that would allow Texas high school students to fail two high-stakes exams and still graduate. It is effective immediately.

Abbott said Monday that the state “must protect” students from what he called evolving testing standards. “While it is critical that the state appropriately holds public schools and districts accountable for delivering the best possible education, we must protect Texas students from being penalized as a result of evolving testing standards,” he said in a statement. 

About 28,000 students in the class of 2015 still must pass one or more of the five state exams in U.S. history, biology, algebra I, English I and English II required to graduate. Of those who need to retake exams, about half must retake more than one.

Ryan E. Poppe

A bill to create graduation panels that would approve high school seniors for graduation, even if they failed some of the state’s end-of-course exams, has been approved by lawmakers in the Senate.

The bill by Amarillo Republican Sen. Kel Seliger, if passed by the House and then signed into law, would exempt seniors from having to pass all five standardized tests, known in Texas as the STAAR exams. Seliger said too many seniors were failing these exams, yet still had a great grade point average.

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