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Thousands of MS students denied for graduation ceremonies

Thousands of MS students denied for graduation ceremonies

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Thousands of Mississippi seniors won't be graduating on time because they can't pass the history portion of the required state test, officials say. 

Seniors set to graduate in 2013 are the first group to take the newer, more difficult version of the exam.

James Mason from the Mississippi Department of Education thinks the addition is necessary for students to succeed in "the real world."

"For years, students in Mississippi graduated from high school and received their degrees, yet weren't equipped to succeed in the workforce," Mason said.

Many parents are outraged, and results on student test scores have superintendents across the state scratching their heads in disbelief.

Several students who failed the state test are also scholarship recipients at universities and community colleges for athletics, choir, forensics, and other activities. Many of these students have GPAs as strong as 3.8.

H. Irvin Stewart, parent of former Stringer High School student, said his daughter has never failed a subject in school. Stewart's daughter is also a member of the Beta Club. His daughter had already received her chord for Beta Club, as well as her cap and gown.

His daughter was informed that she would not be allowed to participate in graduation activities because she was three points away from passing the history portion of the State Test.

His daughter's scholarship to Jones County Junior College was revoked because she is not a high school graduate.

His daughter has decided to settle for a GED at the last minute. Stewart says his daughter is devastated.

But Stewart is not the only parent concerned.

Jennifer Reid of Leakesville who lost her 16-year-old son in a car accident in January said her eldest son, despite his circumstances, received a full ride scholarship for football to a Mississippi community college.

Her son was recently told he could not graduate due to his poor performance in the history portion of the State Test.

Although the history portion of the Subject Area Test presents new challenges and obstacles for students, a Petal High School teacher thinks the challenge is beneficial.

"I think if the test were any easier, it would be a disservice to students," Thompson said.

Mississippi's Superintendent of Education Lynn House could not be contacted on this matter. 

Do you think the history portion of the state test is difficult? Take it HERE.

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