ISAT exam may not be required for high school graduation

The final decision is left to state legislators
Posted at 5:39 PM, Nov 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 19:40:16-05

Every state in the US has a federally required standardized test for high school students and in Idaho it's the ISAT, but if legislators give it the OK, students won’t be required to pass the exam in order to receive their high school diploma.

The state board of education met Monday to discuss their options.

“They thought that removing that minimum proficiency requirement as part of graduation would still maintain a value in a high school diploma, but take some of that pressure of taking the exam off the students,” Blake Youde with the State Board of Education said.

Part of the board’s decision comes from the fact that in order to graduate,  students already have a variety of requirements they need to meet. For example,  a certain number of credits in core subjects, a written and oral senior presentation and they must take a college entrance exam.

“When you look at that plethora of requirements and then having another requirement that they take a test and have a minimum score that they need to graduate, there was concern among the board that maybe that was an overly weighted factor for graduation,” Youde said.

If passed in the 2017 legislative session, the test would still be routinely administered to high school sophomores, but instead of fueling graduation it's focus will be on providing feedback for the state.

“It sets a bar,” Youde said. “A way for us to see what's happening in all 115 school districts across the state, the more than 40 public charter schools across the state, and really see where our academic performance is.”