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Pass the Word! Exit Exams For Students No Longer Needed
8/13/2014 3:21:31 PM

Chronicle Staff Reports

Several months ago Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law Act 155 which no longer requires high school seniors to pass the HSAP or high school exit exam to receive a high school diploma. The act allows students who since 1990 did not pass the test and received certificates of completion in lieu of diplomas to apply for diplomas. Some are concerned school, officials should do more to make that information available to students.

One local teacher said schools are not making a good faith effort to tell students who received certificates they now have the option to get their diplomas if they met all other requirements. Letters should be sent to graduates, she said. School officials say that’s unfeasible. That information went to high schools and the media, school officials said.

Students who received certificates of completion in lieu of diplomas from 1990 through 2014 must apply for them before Dec. 31, 2014. The total number of students affected is uncertain, officials said. But since 2005, 465 students in Charleston County received certificates.

CCSD Director of Guidance and Counseling Amy Neloms said former students can go to the district’s website for information about Act 155 and petitioning for their diplomas. She said it’s important for students to know they can petition only if they were denied a diploma solely because they did not pass the exit exams. Students may make their petition with the school they attended or the district where they attended school.

Neloms said it’s also important that students know the colleges to which they may have applied for admission has to decide whether it will accept the diploma. Certificates of completion are unacceptable for admission to higher education institutions as well as the U.S. military.

Neloms stressed that students should go to the district’s website for information. That website address is Also they may contact her office at (843)) 937-7912.

She said school officials are uncertain if the exit exam will be replaced with some other assessment tool. District officials are awaiting that information from the S.C. Dept. of Education, she said. Potentially South Carolina schools may use the SAT or ACT tests as replacement assessment tools.

Currently seniors are required to take the Workkeys test as an assessment tool. That test also may be substituted for the exit exam. She noted Workkeys already is an essential assessment tool for students going directly into the workforce.

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