Missouri state Rep. Bryan Spencer, R-Wentzville, is a teacher by trade and a freshman lawmaker in the General Assembly. Spencer introduced House Bill 294 in mid-February which requires all high school students in Missouri pass proficiency tests in four core areas before the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will issue a diploma, Yahoo! News reports. Local school districts can issue certificates of achievement, but those won’t count towards a student’s graduation. Spencer’s motivation for the bill is threefold, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch .

* The lawmaker says students already take exams to assess how much they’ve learned. The same tests could be used to ascertain whether students are ready to graduate. The exams also offer a way to evaluate teacher performance and increase the credibility of high school diplomas in Missouri…

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