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1 in 4 Texas students not passing STAAR tests required to graduate

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The Texas Education Agency says of the 309,000 students graduating next year in 2015, 76 percent of them have already passed the STAAR "End of Course" exams they need to graduate.

That means 24 percent are still not out of the woods and for the majority of them, this isn't their first shot at taking the tests.

"The fact of the matter is...they haven't learned the materials! And you know, we can go about blaming the test, but to me the test is like a thermometer that you get mad at when it tells you that your kid's temperature is high and you need to go to work and the thermometer's telling you you've got to stay at home," said Bill Hammond with the Texas Association of Business.

Hammond wasn't thrilled when House Bill 5 came along and reduced the number of standardized tests required to graduate from 15 to 5.

"Today in the Austin area, there's some 6,000 openings in I.T. that are not being filled because of lack of an educated work force. And this number will just grow over time," Hammond said.

The Education Agency says testing in December largely involved students who were re-taking the test.

  •  42% passed Biology.
  •  37% passed English I Reading
  •  15% passed English I Writing
  •  30% passed Algebra I

Ken Zarifis, President of Education Austin says testing is a useful tool but...

"We don't think testing should be a punishment. We believe testing should be informative and help us direct our curriculum," he said.

Zarifis says the 76 percent of students that passed is a pretty good number. As for the 24% that didn't pass -- he says then it's time to look at the test. Multiple-choice may not be the only way to go.

"Kids aren't gonna go to a workplace and just have 4 options to solve a problem. They're gonna have to think about multiple ideas around 'How do I want to solve this problem?' And maybe one of the answers, that's the ultimate answer...isn't even in anybody's head...and that's creative problem solving," Zarifis said.

The Texas Education Agency says those students who didn't pass will have another opportunity to pass so they can graduate.

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