Gov. Nikki Haley has signed into law legislation that eliminates an exit exam high school students are required to pass in order to graduate.
The Associated Press first reported the bill‘s signing on Monday. Childhood disability advocates have spent several years pushing for the High School Assessment Program to be replaced, arguing the test is often the one impediment keeping some students with learning disabilities from receiving a diploma.
The proposal passed both the state House and Senate in unanimous votes.
Students usually take the exit exam late in their sophomore year. Those students who do not pass both the English and math portions on their first attempt are allowed to try again. The test is not considered difficult. Last year, 80 percent of test-takers in South Carolina passed both sections on their first try, according to the state Department of Education. However, roughly 8 percent of seniors were not able to graduate in 2012 because they failed to pass the HSAP.
Next school year, 11th graders will take two tests. The law specifies one will be ACT WorkKeys, which awards job-skills credentials students can take to employers. The other will test for college readiness. The AP reports that specific test hasn’t been picked.
An Education Department spokesman said Education Superintendent Mick Zais supports ending the exit exam graduation requirement.