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Oklahoma senator hoping to do away with high school history assessment test

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OKLAHOMA – A state senator and former history teacher wants to cut a history assessment test to save the state money.

Each year, high school students are tested in order to see how prepared they are for college.

"Last year, our Legislature passed a law that we go down to the federally mandated tests, but then they added back in a U.S. history test,” said Alicia Priest, the president of the Oklahoma Education Association.

Math, science and English are federally mandated tests, but history is not.

Now, some lawmakers want to do away with it.

"I taught U.S. history for years at Owasso High School, and I saw first-hand how the test doesn't do anything positive for the school, the students or the parent,” said Senator J.J. Dossett.

Dossett believes mandated tests cost money the state can’t afford.

He said the history assessment doesn’t prove what students know, just how well they can take a test.

"People who oppose it would say accountability, that we need to keep accountability on U.S. history in our schools, but I think we do a good enough job of that as is,” Dossett said.

Bob Blackburn with the Oklahoma History Society disagrees.

"I think that history and a better understanding of the humanities is essential for a well-rounded education," Blackburn said.

He thinks it should continue to be included with these assessments, fearing what could happen down the road if it is eliminated.

"If it's not tested anymore, educators are not going to teach it. They will teach toward the test," he said.

Supporters like Priest agree with Dossett in eliminating the history assessment.

"Just last week, we got my daughter's test results back. So, if a teacher doesn't get a test result back from one year until November of the next, that doesn't really instruct how they're teaching,” Priest said.