RIDE: Most Students Meet Graduation Requirements

Jun 18, 2014

The State Department of Education says roughly 95 percent of this year's high school seniors have met a controversial new graduation requirement involving test scores. Nearly 500 students met the requirement by getting a waiver from their school districts.

Most high schools have already held graduations, but RIDE says it does not have a final number for how many students were prevented from receiving diplomas because of the testing requirement. Education Commissioner Deborah Gist told RIPR students can still appeal graduation decisions.

"So there's a process for them to appeal it locally, and if that is not satisfactory, they have an opportunity to appeal decisions to the Rhode Island Department of Education," Gist said.

The testing rule, which took effect for the first time this year, requires seniors to achieve a score of two or better on the New England Common Assessment Program, or improve on a retake, to qualify for a diploma. Students could also apply for a waiver from their school districts, if they failed to meet the testing bar.

Critics called for a halt the testing policy, citing an unfair impact on low-income and minority students, but the State Board of Education held firm.

An effort to stop the testing requirement at the General Assembly has yet to move forward.