IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - High school seniors have one less thing to worry about when it comes to graduating. They no longer have to pass the ISAT test to graduate. The Senate Education Committee voted to approve that recommendation by the State Board of Education.
There's mixed reaction among students.
"I feel they should have to pass it. I feel it's pretty basic stuff you should know how to do," said Bonneville High School senior, Benjamin Benson.
But fellow classmate Emily Moyer had a different opinion.
"The thing with the ISAT is it's a timed test, which is hard for some kids to do, especially if you have test anxiety," Moyer said.
Teachers and administrators we talked with were supportive of dropping the requirement.
“I think it's a good decision,” Bonneville high school teacher Krista Bumgardner said. “I think the kids take a lot of standardized tests, and it doesn't necessarily measure what we're wanting them to measure."
Bonneville District 93 Assistant Superintendent Scott Woolstenhulme agrees.
"It creates a lot of challenges for kids, particularly the kids who struggle,” Woolstenhulme said. “For those students who are struggling in class anyway, who we're working as hard as we can to get to graduate, putting an extra obstacle in their path, we've never been supportive of."
Debbie Critchfield of The State Board of Education explained why they pushed for dropping the requirement.
"We wanted to showcase and highlight the multiple measures rather than having everything hinge on the test, which is a snapshot of that moment in that time," Critchfield said.
Even though passing the ISAT to graduate isn't required right now, students are still required to take the test, and educators say there is value in that.
"We fully support the ISAT,” Woolstenhulme said. “It gives us great data back about how our students are performing."
Senate Education Committee Chairman, Dean Mortimer voted for the rule change, but with some hesitations. He likes the idea of a standardized test to ensure seniors are qualified to graduate. He's just not sure the ISAT is the right test.
"Should we be working towards a learning standard in the future?, Mortimer asks. “I believe we probably should. Yes, we need kids learning, and learning to a standard and not just being evaluated by their seat time, the amount of time they spend in the classroom."
Mortimer wants to explore the possibility of requiring seniors to pass the G-E-D test in order to graduate.