The test required for Rhode Islanders to graduate from high school has been failed by 40 percent of this spring's graduating class.
That's more than 4,000 seniors at risk of not getting a diploma.
Parents and educational activists are calling for the state to drop the New England Common Assessment Program test.
Education Commissioner Deborah Gist said Tuesday now is not the time to lighten up on much needed math instruction improvements. And she said there will be help for students to score better on the next round of testing.
Gist said she doesn't want to deny diplomas to anyone who wants to work hard.
"That's why we put in the ability for them to earn their diploma through growth and that means that students have a least a year, and even a little bit more than that if they take the third assessment to demonstrate the growth that they've made in mathematics," she said.
But Veronika Kot of Rhode Island Legal Services says students in the 11th and 12th grades need to focus on their strengths that they will be pursuing after high school.
"Cramming for a several question improvement on a NECAP test does absolutely nothing to improve the meaningfulness of their diploma, or their post secondary outcomes," she said.
A hearing at the State House is scheduled for Wednesday on a bill that would ban the test requirement for graduation.
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