Required Lessons

Fla. County Makes '23' a Passing Grade Thu May 30,12:34 PM ET

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) - You can get three-quarters of the answers wrong and still pass this test.

Palm Beach County high school students taking a new history exam this week need to answer just 23 of 100 multiple-choice questions correctly to pass.

To get an A, they need to get just over half the answers right. A B grade requires only 39 correct answers.

The new final exam for American and world history classes was developed by school district officials to ensure students learn state- required lessons that include history about women, Africans, African-Americans and the Holocaust.

The 100-question test, specific to Palm Beach County, replaces individual final exams that teachers create themselves. The district, which recommended the grading scale, sent letters to schools giving them the option to use it on the new test.

Many said they will, while teachers in some schools said the issue hasn't yet been discussed. It will be for this year only.

But some teachers were concerned about the low passing scale.

"I don't think if you administer a valid test and a kid misses half of the questions, that they should pass," said Thomas O'Brien, a social studies teacher at Lake Worth High School.

School board member Debra Robinson, who introduced the idea of using a standardized history exam last fall, said she accepts the grading scale this year, because it's the first time the district is using the exam.

Final exams are worth 20 percent of a student's grade.