Grad exam changes welcome, principal says

An Alabama Board of Education decision to replace the state’s graduation exam with the ACT college entrance exam may prove beneficial to Shelby County students, according to Thompson High School Principal Robin Thomas.

As a result of the decision, all 11th grade students will be required to take the college entrance exam instead of the state’s current graduation exam, beginning in 2011.

Though students still will be required to take the graduation exam the next two school years, the mandated ACT likely will better prepare students for higher education, Thomas said.

“We had a meeting about it this morning, and I think most of us are glad to see it go,” Thomas said. “I think all of us want to move to something different.

“That’s 12 or so school days we will get back for instruction, plus we will still have end-of-course tests,” Thomas added.

The Board of Education plan also will eliminate the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th edition, for third-through-eighth-grade students across the state, and will require students to complete career assessments and other job-related tests in eighth, 10th and 12th grades.

“The ACT requirement is still two years away, but some parts of the change will start this year,” Thomas said. “There are certainly some changes that we will all have to make.

“Right now, we are just trying to digest all the information and figure out exactly how this is going to affect us,” he added.