Almost 80 percent of high school seniors in Texas are starting class this month knowing they are going to graduate in May.  They’ve passed all the tests they need to pass. 

Student performance on those tests was discussed at a hearing of the Senate Education Committee yesterday at the state Capitol.

Texas lawmakers passed legislation last year changing high school graduation requirements.  Texas Education Agency Director of Communications Debbie Ratcliffe says House Bill-5 changed the standardized testing for those students. 

“There was widespread belief that we were over-testing those students,” Ratcliffe says.  “The Legislature in 2007 felt like we needed to move to end-of-course exams, which are similar to final exams.”

Ratcliffe says the thinking was -- this was a better approach than having the tests cover several years of material.  She says test results from last spring are very strong.

“More than 80 percent of this year's seniors have already passed all the tests that they are required to pass,” she says, “so they are in great shape to graduate.”