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      Dougherty School System looks to streamline core standard pass rate

      The new core standards have set the bar very high for students across the state and now the Dougherty County School System is working to lower the passing rate of unit tests.At the end of nine weeks, students in grades 1 through 8 are tested on the application of the lesson or unit. In order to pass, students in Dougherty County must receive an 80% or above.During an Instructional Accountability Committee meeting Monday morning, members presented a plan that will change that passing level to a 70% or above saying many students fall in the 70-78% mark.If a student does not pass, the teacher must take 15-20 days to provide training to catch the student up, taking attention away from the passing students.Committee members say the standards in all surrounding counties are at 70% and this is the passing level in grades 9 and above. By changing the rate, members say it will create a consistency in grading from 1st through 12th grade, allowing a smoother transition for students leaving 8th grade.Committee members stress lowering the passing level does not translate to lowering their expectations and say students will still be required to fully grasp a lesson in order to pass.The committee sent a tentative notice to all schools of the change, saying Lincoln Elementary School was the only institution that opposed it.The committee will present the plan to the school board and hopes to have it passed as soon as possible so they can update school handbooks before they are sent out.