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School Divisions Could Have Flexibility in Graduation Requirements

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In Richmond, members of the General Assembly are moving forward with the plan to change high school graduation requirements. The bill is part of a larger effort to reduce the influence of standardized tests.

The House Education Committee is moving forward with a bill that would give local school divisions more flexibility in how they determine graduation requirements. The idea is to let administrators ditch standardized tests in favor of other assessments, like a science project or a research essay.

"I don't think it undermines the accountability."

That's Republican Delegate Tag Greason of Loudoun County, who introduced the bill.

"I think it changes the way we assess our children, and those who are ready to move forward we should promote that and have them move forward."

Opponents say the idea undermines a system that has worked well since it was created in the 1990s.

"The SOLs where instituted to provide a statewide standard so that you could have confidence that classes in Fairfax and Galax were teaching the same basic material."

That's Republican Delegate Mark Cole of Fredericksburg.

"Whenever you start making exemptions to make the local school districts to be able to come up with own tests, you undermine that."

The bill passed the Education Committee on a 16 to six vote, and now its heading to the House floor.

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