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MDE News

High School Seniors Provided Additional Option for Graduation

by Mar 20, 2015


Carey M. Wright, Ed.D., State Superintendent of Education

Office of Communications & Legislative Support
Patrice Guilfoyle, APR, Director of Communications *601-359-3706 *FAX:  601-359-3033
Jean Cook, Communications Specialist *601-359-3519



NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release: March 20, 2015 

High School Seniors Provided Additional Option for Graduation

JACKSON, Miss. – This school year, high school seniors will have one additional option to meet graduation requirements if they don’t pass one or more exams in the Subject Area Test Program (SATP) and don’t meet previously approved alternative options. 

 The State Board of Education today approved a new policy that allows students who are seniors in the 2014-2015 school year to use their end-of-course SATP score with their overall course grade to apply for graduation.  Students will qualify for this option if their course grade and test score, when evaluated together, demonstrate adequate mastery of course content.

 This policy will continue for seniors who are enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year. Also in 2015-2016, all students enrolled may achieve a combined minimum score from the end-of-course Subject Area Tests to meet the requirement for graduation in lieu of passing the applicable end-of-course Subject Area Test.

 Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, SATP scores will constitute 25 percent of a student’s final grade.

SATP tests are administered to students who have completed Algebra I, Biology I, English II, and U.S. History. Under the new policy, SATP test results will continue to be included in the state accountability model. 

“This option gives students another way to demonstrate that they have mastered their coursework without making the requirements for graduation contingent upon the outcome of any one particular test,” said Dr. John R. Kelly, Board chairman. “This policy also preserves the ability of districts and schools to continue using SATP end-of-course test results to measure how well students are learning.”

The new policy still requires that students enrolled in Algebra I, Biology I, English II, and U.S. History participate in the applicable SATP test in order to earn the Carnegie Unit for the course. Students who fail an SATP test will still be offered opportunities to retake the test.

 Under the new policy, graduation options are as follows: 

Beginning with school year 2014-2015, students may graduate by passing the course and meeting one of the following options: 

  1. Pass the applicable end-of-course Subject Area Test
  2. Use the end-of-course Subject Area Test score with the overall course grade (For seniors in 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 only. Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, SATP scores will constitute 25 percent of a student’s final grade.)
  3. Obtain a score of 17 or higher in the specific subject area on the ACT. 
  4. Earn a C or higher in an entry level, credit-bearing dual enrollment/dual credit /college credit course. 
  5. Obtain an Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) AFQT (Armed Forces Qualification Test) score of 36 plus one of the following:

1)      Earn a CPAS (Career Planning and Assessment System) score that meets the attainment level assigned by Federal Perkins requirements.

2)     Earn an approved Industry Certification as specified in the Career Pathway’s Assessment Blueprint and outlined in Appendix A-5 in the current edition of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards.

  1. Obtain the Silver Level on the ACT WorkKeys plus one of the following:

1)      Earn a CPAS (Career Planning and Assessment System) score that meets the attainment level assigned by Federal Perkins requirements. 

2)     Earn an approved Industry Certification as specified in the Career Pathway’s Assessment Blueprint and in Appendix A-5 in the current edition of the Mississippi Public School Accountability Standards.

Additional information about the new graduation options can be found at www.mde.k12.ms.us/3804. 

 

GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS AND
SUBJECT AREA TESTING PROGRAM Q&A 

 Do students still have to participate in all four Subject Area Testing Program (SATP) tests in order to graduate?

 Yes.

 Which subjects require these tests?

 Algebra I, Biology I, English II, and U.S. History.

 What is changing this year about how the SATP tests will be used to qualify students for graduation?

 Seniors in the 2014-2015 school year who have failed an end-of-course SATP test may use the test score with their overall course grade to apply for graduation. Students will qualify for this option if their course grade and test score, when evaluated together, demonstrate adequate mastery of course content.

 Is this option retroactive?

 No. This graduation option is only available to students who are currently enrolled in high school.

 How will a failing score on an SATP test be used with a course grade to determine whether a high school senior qualifies to graduate? 

 A concordance table will be used to calculate the SATP test score with the course grade. The MDE will provide school leaders with the tools to make these calculations for each of the four SATP tests. These tools will be provided to school districts following the April 17, 2015, meeting of the State Board of Education.

 What if a student’s course grade and test score aren’t high enough to qualify the student for graduation?

 The student may pursue one of the other previously approved alternative graduation options outlined in State Board Policy 3804 (www.mde.k12.ms.us/3804) or retake the SATP test.

 Can students retake Algebra I, Biology I, English II, or U.S. History if they have previously passed the course to attempt to get a higher grade?

 No. Students may not retake courses that they have already passed and for which they have earned credit.

 How can high school seniors find out if they qualify for the new SATP graduation option?

 Students should meet with their school counselors to determine whether they meet graduation requirements.

 How will the SATP policy affect students who are seniors in 2015-2016?

 This policy will continue for seniors who are enrolled in the 2015-2016 school year. All students enrolled in SATP courses in 2015-2016 will also be offered the option to achieve a combined minimum score on all four of their SATP tests to qualify for graduation in lieu of passing the applicable end-of-course Subject Area Test.

 How will the SATP policy change beginning in 2016-2017?

 Starting in the 2016-2017 school year, SATP test scores will constitute 25 percent of a student’s final grade in the applicable course. This policy will affect every student who enrolls in Algebra I, Biology I, English II, and U.S. History for the first time in 2016-2017 and thereafter. 

 Why do students take these tests?

 The tests measure what students are learning and provide feedback to parents, students and teachers about student progress and mastery. The tests also help demonstrate students qualify for graduation and are used to help evaluate the quality of schools.

 Will SATP scores still be a factor in the state accountability model?
Yes. There will be no changes to how SATP scores are used to determine school and district grades as part of the state accountability model. 

Mississippi Department of Education     P.O. Box 771     Jackson, MS 39205-0771     General Information: 601-359-3513

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