The House of Delegates reversed itself yesterday and voted against requiring Maryland high school students to pass a writing test to graduate until 1989.
Del. Michael Collins (D-Baltimore County), in urging the House to pass the measure, which fell one vote shy of passage earlier this week, said the bill was aimed at delaying the test for two years, not eliminating it.
"No one voting for this bill thinks that kids should not be able to write," said Collins. "The question is whether the test is proper."
The measure, approved 82 to 53, now goes to the Senate.
The State Board of Education plans to deny graduation to any members of next year's senior class who do not pass the test. Those who failed the test the first two times get up to three more chances to pass before the end of the 1986-87 school year.
Many honor students were among the 13,000 students who failed the test that was first given last spring, Collins said. More than 25 percent of the 55,000 11th grade students who took the test failed, he said.
Collins said the delay would give the school board enough time to revise the test, which he maintains is subjective and unfair.
The two-part test is graded by a firm in Georgia, and parents of students must submit a written request to get a copy of the graded test, Collins said.
"We should not be graduating 4.0 or 3.5 (grade average) students who cannot write," said Del. Judith Toth (D-Montgomery County). "Maybe 13,000 students deserved to fail."