Teachers Work With Students To Ensure Their Graduation At The End Of The Year


You sit nervously in a school desk at exactly 7:45 a.m. For the next four hours you will take an exam that will determine your fate in high school.

It’s not whether you know it, it’s whether you can apply it.

You’ve heard it a thousand times.

It’s a state exam, how hard can it be?

4:00:00. The countdown begins. You read, answer questions, reread, and repeat. 1:59:00. Halfway there. Now you write two 26-line essays. As soon as you finish, your hand shoots in the air. It’s finally over.

“Come see me after class,” your teacher says as he hands you a thick overturned packet.

You turn it over.


You can’t graduate unless you pass this test.

You retake it during the summer.


You retake it next winter thinking certainly I can correct a few mistakes.


It’s hopeless.

You’re a senior now. You still haven’t passed that Sophomore EOC English test. As of right now, your future depends on that test.

“If I don’t pass the EOC and they don’t let me graduate, I will drop out of high school,” one senior said.

This is a situation that one in four Texas seniors are facing. Alone. Until now.

Over the 2014 summer break the English department decided to change EOC classes for all juniors and seniors who scored below satisfactory on the freshman and sophomore English EOC exams.

“Most of these students have taken the test 6-9 times,” said English Department Head Sandra Scheller. “They’ve given up hope. So we took it upon ourselves to see everyone graduate.”

At the beginning of the year, approximately 21 seniors and 81 juniors were enrolled in the EOC classes.

“We thought that small classes would be best for the students,” Scheller said. “Every English teacher added an EOC class to their regular schedules in order to make that happen.”

There are about 10 students in each EOC class, enough to allow the teacher to work personally with the students if needed.

“At first I felt really embarrassed about this being in a class setting, but now I see why they chose it,” another senior said. “We help each other out. My strongest part may be the short answer, when that could be someone’s worst.”

Many of the students in the EOC classes aren’t interested in careers in English, however they know that this has affected their future goals in some way.

“I’ve always wanted to be a marine biologist,” a senior said. “But I can’t even pass a standardized test.”

With all their credits complete, the only thing stopping the students from graduating and moving on is the EOC test. Even athletes are put on hold from colleges.

“I’ve always wanted to play college basketball,” a senior said. “I’ve been getting lots of mail from college recruiters wanting me to play for them. I really do want to go to college and play. I just have this test blocking me.”

For other students the graduating high school isn’t necessary for their career path.

“I want to be a Marine,” Luke said. “It’s not like passing this test or graduating high school would really help me anyways.”

Even though some students have already lost all hope in passing their tests, Scheller has made it her goal to see all of them succeed.

“Nobody has ever not graduated in my classes before,” Scheller said. “And it’s certainly not going to happen now.”

The next opportunity for the students to retest is December. Principal Dee Palmore is currently looking for tools to help the group of students pass the EOC and make it across the stage on June 6, 2015.