Suwannee Democrat

Local News

January 5, 2010

A long time coming

Two locals are first in the state to receive high school diploma under new rule

A Live Oak couple made history in December as the first in the state to receive their high school diplomas under a change to rules governing use of the High School Competency Test and the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

Zillie and Re'Niceshia Barber Daniels each received diplomas after records showed that each had passed sections on the FCAT that they had earlier failed on the HSCT. The couple were awarded their diplomas and honored with certificates at the Dec. 22 Suwannee County School Board meeting.

"I feel real good about it," said Zillie, a 1993 Suwannee High School graduate. "It opens doors. By the grace of God we got it, now it's just about figuring out what we want to do."

Re'Niceshia is a 2000 graduate. In 2005, she retook the HSCT, at which time she passed the reading portion of the test but failed the math section. In 2007, she took the FCAT and passed the math portion with a score of 292. However, it would still be a while before she could receive her diploma, because the new rule didn't go into effect until last year.

In January 2009, the Florida Department of Education eliminated a rule that required high school graduates to pass both sections of the HSCT prior to being awarded a standard high school diploma. Under the new rule, students could qualify for a diploma by earning passing concordant scores on the respective sections of the FCAT. According to state statute, eligible students with a passing score equal to or greater than 268 on the Grade 10 FCAT Reading, or a 278 in FCAT math could use those passing scores in place of failed HSCT scores.

"Adults who have taken the HSCT previously but who have not yet earned passing scores in both sections of the test must meet the remaining testing requirements to qualify for a high school diploma earning scores on the respective sections of the FCAT," reads the relevant statute.

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