Providence to waive graduation test requirement

Providence school officials are waiving state testing requirements for more than 200 high school seniors who were at risk not to graduate next month.

The school board unanimously voted to allow 206 students to graduate, even though they failed to show partial proficiency on the New England Common Assessment Program test.

School officials say those students' scores were the same or higher than others who met state requirements to graduate by retaking the test and showing at least a modest improvement in their scores.

Keith Oliveira, the School Board president, called the state policy deeply flawed.

"If you have A's and B's you still can't pass because you didn't pass the NECAP," said Devin Wilson, who is a senior at Mount Pleasant High School.

"A single test I take on any given day should not define who I am," said Cauldierre McKay, who is a senior at Classical High School.

The state Department of Education gives districts wide latitude to issue waivers of the testing requirements.

Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist stands by the new policy saying in a statement, "Many Providence students have improved their achievement level in mathematics and students in the Class of 2014 will be better prepared for success than any other graduating class."

NBC 10 contributed to this report.