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Bill: Let competent Utah students skip classes or move faster

Published March 5, 2013 12:57 pm

Education • HB393 would allow new ways for students to gain credit based on their competency in a subject.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

More students might soon be able to bypass traditional classes in subjects they've already mastered or move more quickly through them if a bill that gained committee support Tuesday becomes law.

The House Education Committee narrowly voted in favor of HB393, which would allow school districts and charter schools to create ways for students to gain credit based on their competency in a subject. Schools would still receive state funding for those students, based on a formula to be decided in the future.

The state already has ways for students to bypass traditional classes if they pass certain tests, but HB393 would allow school districts and charter schools to set paths as well.

"I think this bill would at least begin the process of exploring ways to measure the students' competency and move them through," said bill sponsor Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper.

State Superintendent Martell Menlove said the state school board hasn't yet taken a position on the bill, but he expressed some concerns about the proposal. For example, he said, students are required to achieve certain grades to win Regents Scholarships — grades they wouldn't receive through competency-based credit. He also questioned the funding, saying he hopes schools don't push large numbers of kids toward competency-based education just to save money.

The bill now moves to the House floor.