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High School Testing Requirements For Graduation Could Change in Mississippi

Mississippi’s 2025 graduating classes may have new graduation requirements if the Mississippi House and Senate reach an agreement on a recent proposal on testing.

Earlier this year, Sen. Dennis DeBar, R-Leakesville, introduced Senate Bill 2689, which would discontinue the existing statewide end-of-year exams in the 11th and 12th grades and replace them with “nationally recognized college readiness and career readiness tests such as, but not limited to, the ACT and ACT WorkKeys assessments.” The legislation would take effect in the 2026-2027 school year.

Currently, to be eligible for graduation, students must pass statewide exams in Algebra I, Biology I, English II and U.S. History or make a certain cut score in the respective area of the ACT. The law would effectively remove those requirements. Students would still be required to pass courses in those subjects to graduate.

Under the proposed bill, Mississippi would seek approval from the U.S. Department of Education to administer the ACT or a similar test to fulfill the federal testing requirements covered by the current EOY tests. The federal government requires states to administer statewide exams in English language arts and math once a year in grades 3 through 8 and once during high school. The government also requires students to test in science each year in grades 3 through 5. Students are required to take another science assessment once in grades 6 through 9 and once in grades 10 through 12.

“The Mississippi Department of Education continues to monitor proposed legislation from the 2024 session,” Mississippi Department of Education Public Information Officer Shanderia Minor told the Mississippi Free Press in an emailed statement on April 5.

The ACT is a timed aptitude test and one of the most commonly used indicators of college readiness used by institutions across the country. The test is composed of four sections evaluating proficiency in English, mathematics, reading and scientific reasoning. Each section is scored individually, on a scale of 1 to 36, with the average of the sections constituting the overall composite score.

While S.B. 2689 would require all students to take the ACT or ACT WorkKeys assessment, most

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