- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma school officials have praised legislation that would eliminate some mandated high school exams during a time in which educators are frustrated by state budget cuts.

Schools across Oklahoma were asking for testing reductions before the Legislature approved a bill Thursday that would remove the seven end-of-instruction exams high school students are required to take in order to graduate, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1Y1crdp ) reported.

The bill was sent to Gov. Mary Fallin. If she approves the measure, the state’s board of education will spend the next several months creating a single test to be considered by lawmakers next year.

“We want to shift the focus to assessments that have value after high school,” said Joy Hofmeister, state schools superintendent.

Hofmeister said the new assessments could resemble an ACT or SAT taken during a student’s sophomore year. The legislation calls for them to be fully implemented by the 2017-18 school year.

“The main thing for me is, it gets rid of the graduation requirement that students pass these tests and that’s a huge step forward,” said Rick Cobb, superintendent of Mid-Del Schools. “These tests created a climate of fear that narrowed the curriculum focus in a classroom.”

He said removing the tests will help with the district’s budget.

“It will save us a decent amount of money by not having to do those testing windows and it really helps teachers focus on their expertise and their students,” Cobb said. “Tests shouldn’t be the thing driving curriculum.”

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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