According to the State Department of Education, "Students who enter high school in fall 2011 will no longer take the GHSGT in English, math, social studies and science, in order to graduate. This new plan will require students to pass all required courses, and the End-of-Course Tests, EOCT, would now count 20 percent of a student's final grade, rather than the current 15 percent weight."
Bartow County school superintendent John Harper said he supports the decision.
"I agree we are testing our students too much," Harper said. " ... When the end-of-course test was implemented several years ago, it was implemented with the understanding we would eliminate end-of-course tests. That didn't occur, so it's been carrying on and on. I applaud the state superintendent for making that recommendation to the state school board. I applaud the state school board for accepting that recommendation and cutting out one of those tests that has caused so many children not to be able to get a diploma in the state of Georgia."
Harper said the test puts students at a disadvantage because many students study for exams through memorization. He said, although students need to absorb the material, the GHSGT tests students specifically on material they may have not studied for two years.
"I don't think that demonstrates anything to business and industry that those children aren't ready to go out and work in the world for them."
In other school news, the Bartow County Board of Education on Monday approved for review its strategic plan, which outlines the school system's plan for student improvement and reaching goals throughout the system.
The plan will be viewable for one month and can be found at www.bartow.k12.ga.us.
The school system requested the assistance of the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement in facilitating the development of the updated strategic improvement plan for the school district.
Associate Superintendent Ben Desper explained the plan has specifics on quantitative goals for the system.
The plan, developed within a year, included stakeholder surveys on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the school district as well as facilitated processes for analyzing the results of the surveys.
The board also appointed the school system's certified staff for the 2011-2012 school year.
"We don't know what our budget is going to look like, but teachers need the security of having the position and the notification this month," Harper said.