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House OKs Bill to Let Students Challenge Course Content

Thursday, April 11, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bill allowing high school students to test out of a course if they demonstrate a mastery of the subject.

House Bill 190, sponsored by Representative Paul Seaton, requires districts to provide an option for students to challenge courses through an assessment, which could include the existing final exam for the course.

“Students and administrators are eager for the opportunity provided by House Bill 190,” Seaton, R-Homer, said. “Keeping students engaged in learning and challenging them with rigorous coursework benefits both the student and the districts. We shouldn’t have a barrier in place on achievement. If a student wants to strive, we should find ways to help them, and that’s what the bill does.”

HB 190 leaves the criteria for demonstrating mastery to the discretion of the school district. Seaton said the impetus for the bill came from a House Education Committee hearing earlier this session when administrators from the popular Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP) at the University of Alaska Anchorage testified. ANSEP officials said that students who take part in their camps and programs were only receiving half credit from some high schools for completed UA courses.

HB 190 now moves to the Alaska Senate for consideration.

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