HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – If you failed the state-mandated high school exit exam and were not allowed to graduate or get your diploma, the deadline to mail a petition to reverse that decision is December 31.
Act 115 was passed in July 2014. It allows former students of any South Caroline high school to petition the school district to get your high school diploma, if failing the B-SAP or H-SAP exit exam was the only reason for not graduating. The exit exam covered English, math, and writing. Failing even one portion of the exam would mean that student was not allowed to graduate, even if the student passed all required classes and accumulated all necessary credits over the course of four years in high school.
"It is a wonderful thing for anyone who has struggled passing a test," says Etta Green Carter, the Horry County School District director of adult education. "Some people just aren't natural test takers. So people have not been able to pursue their dreams because they don't pass this one test."
You can find the one-page application on the Horry County School District's website. The form is basic information like where you went to high school, your name, a phone number. Based on your information, the school will pull your transcript to verify that's where you went to school and that the exit exam was the one thing that kept you from getting your diploma. After that, the board will have to review and approve the petition, then your diploma will be mailed to you. It takes about six weeks.
You must have the petition post-marked by December 31st. After that, the petition will no longer be available.
If you didn't go to school in Horry County or you know someone else in South Carolina that wants to do this, all you have to do is reach out to your old high school. Every high school in the state will have a process of what you need to complete.
This is retroactive all the way back to 1990. And if you need help filling out the form, you can get help at the Adult Education Center in Myrtle Beach or Conway.
Greene Carter says this shows a slow and progressive switch to a more holistic approach to education. Instead of relying on one test to determine a student's competency, school districts and universities are now relying more on classroom performance and other factors. For example, Greene Carter says many colleges and universities do not rely solely on SAT or ACT scores for admission now.
"And a lot of schools are moving away from that altogether," she says. "They want to see portfolios, they want to do interviews, they want to do things that are different so they can see a person for more than just a test that they had to prep for."