Eighty percent of the Class of 2008 have passed all three sections of the Utah Basic Skills Competency Test, according to a report released today from the Utah State Office of Education.

That's nearly a 2 percent increase over the Class of 2007, a boost state education leaders attribute to district remediation programs and greater focus on achievement.

Beginning with the Class of 2006, Utah graduating seniors were required to complete the UBSCT in addition to their school's required classes in order to graduate with a regular high school diploma.

Students who do not pass all three sections of UBSCT — math, reading and writing — before their senior year do not receive a regular diploma, but a certificate of completion instead.

Students are allowed five attempts to pass the test, beginning in the spring of their sophomore year. Once a section is passed, it need not be retaken.

Not only did pass rates for the Class of 2008 increase overall, most subgroups also showed improvement over 2007.

So far, nearly 77 percent of the Class of 2009 has passed all three sections of UBSCT and 64 percent of the Class of 2010 has also passed. The Class of 2009 still has two more attempts to pass and the Class of 2010 four more attempts to pass.

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