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OKLAHOMA CITY – A proposal to eliminate end-of-instruction exams has passed both the Oklahoma House and Senate Education committees, as well as the Senate Appropriations Committee.

Students are required to take EOI exams before they can graduate high school in Oklahoma.

Currently, our high school students must pass four of seven EOI exams in core subjects.

But what will replace those exams if they are eliminated?

Education advocates worry Senate Bill 707 opens the door for the return of Common Core standards that Oklahoma threw out last year.

“We’re Oklahoma, and the idea was not to have a national test, or national standards, or we would not have gotten rid of Common Core,” said Jenni White,
with Restore Oklahoma Public Education (ROPE).

She applauds lawmakers trying to eliminate EOI tests, which cost Oklahoma $7 million last year, but she has a concern about one bill’s language.

SB707 says the subject matter standards and corresponding assessments for English and math would be approved by the State Board of Education.

But White says a portion of that bill that says “and corresponding student assessments”  is crossed out.

She believes that allows national testing to be used once again, instead of local tests that should be based on standards that have yet to be developed
by the education board.

“So… when we create our own standards, we should have our own tests to test those standards,” she said.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education says that’s a misinterpretation of the bill’s language.

“I am very committed to making sure that we do not bring Common Core back,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Hofmeister said Oklahoma is already an ACT state, and the test has been around for 55 years.

“It just makes sense that we use that tool that universities all across the country, and our own career technology centers, are using for placement,”
she said.  “That we are able to use that assessment to satisfy requirements that we do have at the federal level, and that prepare students for the next steps in learning.”

Hofmeister said the state would save more than $5 million by replacing EOI testing with another assessment.

However, the education board could decide to use non-ACT requirements for high school graduation.

Officials say SB707 and HB1272 could be heard on the floor next week.

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