New law gives students failing state exams other options

Every year, hundreds of thousands of Texas school children spend weeks preparing for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, commonly known as STAAR.

Students who don't pass the mandatory exams now have another option.

The STAAR is a grueling four-hour test. Some students in Harlingen who did not pass spent additional time with teachers completing required coursework.

A new law is giving students a second chance.

"I think it TMs a great program for the students in a sense that it was those that were only lacking the scores of the test from the STAAR exam," said Linda Salinas, a social studies teacher.

The law allows students to be forgiven for not passing two state tests called the STAAR End of Course Exams.

"One of the reasons why it was brought forward is because as the state implemented the End of Course Assessments, those assessments were certainly much more rigorous than what our students were used to in the past. So, to kind of offset that and give students to understand the exam and provide teachers with the skills, they needed to prepare students the state brought forward this bill," said Alicia Noyola, a Chief Academic Officer.

Like Harlingen, school districts were required to create individual graduation committees. Those in the committees looked at students TM knowledge of the subject and assigned them additional course work.

"We worked with those students earlier this summer, implemented the individual graduation committees and so we have several students that were able to take advantage of that opportunity provided by the state," said Noyola.

The parents are thrilled that we are going above and beyond to get these students fell through the cracks, said Salinas.

To graduate, the student must have passed all their classes and complete the assigned material.

"I think it TMs a very positive thing. It gives them a chance to get on with their lives, get on with their career," said Scott Arnold, the social studies department chair.

The bill will only be effective until September 2017, Noyola said.

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