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Graduation test no longer barrier to diploma
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The Georgia High School Graduation Test no longer can prevent a student from getting a diploma — if that’s the only thing standing in the way and the student petitions the school district.
Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 91 into law Monday, retroactively eliminating the test as a graduation requirement for students who took the test between 1994 (when the test was established) and the present.
A State Board of Education rule in 2011 eliminated the test as a requirement for graduation, but students who had already taken it were still required to pass it on a subsequent try, and meet all other course requirements, to receive a high school diploma.
“I applaud and thank Chairman Brooks Coleman, members of the General Assembly and Governor Deal for passing and signing House Bill 91,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said in a statement. “While in 2011 the State Board of Education eliminated the test as a requirement for graduation, it did not extend to students who were unsuccessful on the test prior to that time. House Bill 91 makes it possible for those students to finally obtain their high-school diploma so they can move on to a brighter future. Those who completed all of the requirements for graduation except for passing one test on one given day now have the opportunity to go on to some form of postsecondary education, where they can obtain skills needed to have a great quality of life and be contributors to our society.”
Students who think they might qualify for a diploma under this condition should know the following:
• Contact the school district/school where he or she last attended high school in Georgia. Find a school district at
• Submit a petition to the local school system (available from school districts) to determine eligibility.
• The law is effective for any student — currently or previously enrolled — who has met all graduation requirements except passing any of the graduation tests (Georgia High School Graduation Test, Georgia High School Writing Test, Basic Skills Test). The law extends back to the first administration of the Basic Skills Test in 1981.
• The law took effect upon the governor’s signature Monday.

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