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Idaho to Abandon Science-Exam Graduation Requirement

Idaho officials are planning to scrap a rule that would have required high schoolers beginning with the class of 2013 to pass a science assessment as a condition of earning a diploma, according to this Associated Press story.

The action, approved this week by the state board of education, still must get the blessing of the state legislature. At the same time, the board of education is calling for the state to develop new end-of-course exams in science that students starting with the class of 2017 would have to pass to graduate.

In the AP story, Tom Luna, the state superintendent for public instruction, discusses the proposal to back away from the planned science mandate, saying that science classes vary from district to district and that students only face state science exams at two grade levels before they are administered the high-stakes test in 10th grade.

"When you only test them in 5th and 7th grade, that's not enough," Luna is quoted as saying. "We have no way of identifying who needs remediation along the way."

Luna said students will still be required to take the high school science test, but their results won't be tied to graduation.

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