When dealing with education in Oklahoma, it seems discussion always comes back to test scores.

Senate Bill 1792 is another in a long line intended to improve Oklahoma’s educational system.

Authored by state Sen. Susan Paddack, D-Ada, and state Rep. Odilia Dank, R-Oklahoma City, the measure would require students who are now in sixth grade to pass four of seven end-of-instruction tests once they enter high school, including: English II, Algebra I, U.S. History, Biology I, English III, Algebra II and Geometry.

The bill would also provide remediation for students to successfully pass the end-of-instruction tests, beginning in seventh grade for those who need help, and would require teens under 18 to demonstrate they are proficient in eighth-grade math before obtaining a driver’s license.

Supporters say the added requirements will further prepare students for college or the work force, make course work more rigorous and motivate students to be successful in the classroom.

But opponents are leery. They fear requiring additional tests will lead to additional failures on exams, which will further lower self-esteem and also force educators to teach to a test, reducing creativity in the classroom.

Under the bill, students will be able to retake each test up to three times a year until they pass.

Opponents also said they are concerned that passage would create two classes of citizens in schools: those who can pass and those who can’t.

Legislation that would require high school students to pass exit exams in order to graduate will leave some Oklahoma students behind, Democratic lawmakers said Thursday.

Friday, a dozen Democrats who voted against it renewed complaints that it could increase the state’s dropout rate.

While both sides of the measure have valid points, we are inclined to support the bill. We need to make sure those who graduate from Oklahoma high schools are prepared to go to college or to at least have the basic knowledge and skills to hold down a job. Senate Bill1792 would at the least identify those students who need our help the most. To work, the bill must provide for a way to get our children up to speed in the classroom, while enhancing their self-esteem. It can be done if all sides work together.