Flint, MI— High schoolers at Southwestern Academy and Accelerated Learning Academy will now have the option to test out of subject areas for credit. 

The Flint Board of Education passed the new policy at Wednesday night’s board meeting. The testing option will be available to all high school students. 

Previously, Flint Community Schools had no official policy that allowed students to test out for credit, but it is a requirement by the State of Michigan, Assistant Superintdent Kevelin Jones said.

Additionally, data shows that allowing students to test out for credit will increase FCS’ graduation rate, according to the district’s policy documents.

Under the Michigan Merit Curriculum Law, which is not itself a curriculum but rather legislation that determines what requirements students must meet to receive a diploma, high schoolers need 18 credits between 8 different learning areas, like world languages, mathematics, and science, to graduate.

MMC is credit-based rather than course-based, meaning a credit earned does not necessarily equate to classroom time. Internships, Career and Technical Education programs, and other learning opportunities can qualify as credit, so long as they meet a district’s guidelines

Students who wish to test out of credit areas do not need to engage in a traditional “course sequence,” according to the MMC website. This means they do not need to take certain classes prior to becoming eligible for testing out, it can occur any time.

Instead, they must prove they meet or exceed academic expectations in the given subject area. This can be determined by an assessment, multiple assessments, or by demonstrating their knowledge in a way that aligns with the subject. For example, a student may test out of their world language credit by dialoguing in another language. 

According to FCS’ new policy, all exit exams will be housed in Illuminate, an online testing platform. Students must score 80% or higher to be considered proficient.

The vote passed 7-0.

Other notable outcomes of Wednesday’s board meeting 

  • The board officially voted to enter a $48,000 Memorandum of Understanding—a non-binding agreement—with the Michigan Department of Treasury that will pay for Plante Moran Cresa, a commercial real estate advisor, for various assessments that will inform a deficit elimination plan. The district is currently running at an $18 million deficit.
  • The district entered into a professional services agreement with the Michigan Association of School Boards beginning July 1, 2021. 
  • William Chapman, who has served as the district’s director of operations since July 2020, resigned from his position. 

Carmen Nesbitt is a journalist with diverse experience in news reporting and feature writing. She wrote for Hour Detroit and SEEN Magazine before joining the Flint Beat news team as an education and public...