TAKS Failures Block Bryan Students from Graduation

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More than 40,000 Texas high school seniors did not pass one or more portions of the TAKS test. Forty-six of those students are from Bryan and College Station.

As part of the state's requirement, high school seniors must pass the TAKS test in order to receive their diplomas. Students are given five chances to pass the exit exam.

However, if the student does not pass the exam, school districts can decide if those seniors will walk graduation day.

In College Station, to walk in graduation, students must complete 22 - 24 credits depending on their degree plan.

Out of the 601 senior students at Timber Academy and A&M Consolidated, 15 did not pass one or more sections of the exit exam.

However, as long as they have completed their required credits, the school allows those seniors to walk on graduation day.

"If a student has been in our district and worked very hard for four years and passed all their classes, this is an important point in their life to be able to participate in the ceremonies," said Clark Ealy, executive director of accountability and planning for College Station Independent School District.

In Bryan, walking privileges are a little different.

Students must not only complete 24 credits, but they also are required to pass all parts of the TAKS test. Thirty-one out of the 690 senior students in Bryan didn't pass the TAKS exam and are not being allowed to walk on graduation day.

"They (school board) want the ceremony, to truly be a graduation ceremony, and they feel like only those kids who have met both state and local requirements-- those kids who are eligible to receive their diplomas on that day are the ones to participate," said James Henry, academic advisor for Bryan High.

However, some Bryan parents feel that rule denies kids a once in a lifetime experience.

"That's these kids last time to really communicate with one another before they all go out in the real world," said Terri and Harley Brigman.

The Brigman's feel not allowing their child to graduate takes away from all the hard work, he and other students have put in over the years.

"They've gone to school for 12, 13, some 14 years, and they should be recognized for what they've accomplished, " said Terri Brigman.

However, officials with Bryan High say they are working with the students to help them receive their diplomas.

"We're already talking to those kids about coming back in July and taking this test again," said Henry. "We've already made plans for additional tutorials, support and strategy sessions to help them get ready."