State test scores cause concern - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

State takes action after 2K seniors fail graduation exam

"Something needs to change, these children need to get their education. It's not fair," Iris Villalon said. "Something needs to change, these children need to get their education. It's not fair," Iris Villalon said.
Brandon High school senior Crystal Aguirre says she missed passing the history portion of the state test by two points.  (Source: Family) Brandon High school senior Crystal Aguirre says she missed passing the history portion of the state test by two points. (Source: Family)
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

More than 2,000 Mississippi high school seniors may not graduate on time because they can't pass a portion of the Mississippi Subject Area Testing Program, officials say.

Many parents are outraged, and late Wednesday, state education officials announced they would hold an emergency testing session to give seniors an opportunity to pass the test before graduation.

Seniors set to graduate this year are the first group to take the newer, more difficult version of the U.S. History exam.

James Mason from the Mississippi Department of Education thinks the addition is necessary for students to succeed in "the real world."

"For years, students in Mississippi graduated from high school and received their degrees, yet weren't equipped to succeed in the workforce," Mason said.

Brandon High school senior Crystal Aguirre says she missed passing the U.S. History portion of the state test by two points. Her mother says the school district told them the only option they now had was to pursue a GED.

"This is a statewide problem. Crystal has all the credits she needs like other children have all the credits they need, but just because they didn't pass the History state test by one or two points they're not allowed to walk with their peers, that's very sad," says Crystal's mother Iris Villalon.

Officials with the Rankin County School District say there are extra help classes, and they can re-take the test when it's given by the state.

Villalon says members of her family have arrived in town, and they now have to put their graduation celebration plans on hold.

"Something needs to change, these children need to get their education. It's not fair," Villalon said.

Several students who failed the test are even scholarship recipients at universities and community colleges with GPAs as strong as 3.8.

H. Irvin Stewart, parent of a former Stringer High School student, said his daughter has never failed a subject in school. His daughter had already received her chord for Beta Club, as well as her cap and gown.

His daughter was informed that she would not be allowed to participate in graduation activities because she was three points away from passing the history portion of the state test. His daughter's scholarship to Jones County Junior College was revoked because she is not a high school graduate.

His daughter has decided to settle for a GED at the last minute. Stewart says his daughter is devastated.

The emergency testing session is for seniors who have completed all graduation requirements with the exception of passing one subject area exam. The cost of the testing is $250 dollars, which should be paid by the school districts.

The test will be held at Mississippi State University. If you fall into this category, you should contact your school guidance counselor.

Copyright 2013 MSNewsNow and WDAM. All rights reserved.

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