Friday, March 10, 2023

State House passes bills to allow ACT retake and examine graduation requirements

House Passes Bills to Allow ACT Retake and Examine Graduation Requirements

OKLAHOMA CITY (March 9th) – The House on Wednesday passed two bills to give high school seniors an additional opportunity to retake the ACT and to modernize state graduation requirements.

House Bills 2673 and 2675 are authored by Rep. Rhonda Baker, chair of the House Common Education Committee.

HB 2673 calls for a fall semester retake of the ACT for Oklahoma high school seniors and offers ACT WorkKeys for those who aren't seeking to pursue college. 

"A voluntary fall ACT retake for seniors with an option for WorkKeys provides two fundamental needs for Oklahoma," Baker explained. "First, it provides additional instructional time to address the lost learning from the pandemic. This may improve ACT scores, expand eligibility for scholarships, and to reduce the need and costs for postsecondary remediation. Second, it provides students who do not plan to attend a four-year college with a credential that certifies to employers and training providers that the graduate has the essential workplace skills that are the best predictors of job performance."

Baker told lawmakers it is worth mentioning that prior to the pandemic, states that implemented similar measures have seen a tremendous return on their investment.  In the first four years of providing an ACT retake opportunity, Tennessee saw 77,000 students increase their ACT score and 10,000 additional students qualifying for scholarships, while saving the state more than $32 million in remediation costs. 

HB 2675 creates a task force to study and make recommendations to modernize Oklahoma's high school graduation requirements.  The task force would be comprised of 14 members of various educational experience. It would be required to meet for the first time no later than Sept. 1, 2023, and deliver a report of recommendations to the governor and legislative body no later than Nov. 1, 2024.

"It's always a good idea to periodically review our state's graduation requirements to make sure we are current with college entrance prerequisites and workforce needs. We also want to examine whether it would be prudent to have different requirements for students not planning to attend college, but who might instead plan to be certified in a trade through the state's CareerTech system or who might simply wish to go straight into a career field."

The bills now move to the state Senate for consideration. HB 2673 is authored by Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond. HB 2675 is authored by Sen. Brenda Stanley, R-Midwest City.

Rhonda Baker serves District 60 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Her district includes part of Canadian County.


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