OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma State Board of Education on Friday approved two waivers and denied one for students who appealed over state-mandated End of Instruction tests.

The board voted 4-0, with three members absent, on each appeal Friday from students who did not pass the required number of tests in order to receive their high school diploma.

Beginning this year, high school seniors were required to pass algebra I and English II tests, plus two tests from among algebra II, biology, English III, geometry and U.S. history, in in order to receive their diploma.

Robert Brown, 18, of Tulsa Central, the only student to appear before the board, sat motionless when his appeal, referred to by the board only as a case number, was denied

"It's tough, it sucks, it really sucks. But I'm going to keep trying, I'm going to keep going and never give up," Brown said.

Brown said he will study more, continue taking the EOI tests and hope that his band scholarship offer to Langston University will be honored until he is awarded his high school diploma.

Teena Whitsel, the student services coordinator for Tulsa Public Schools, said Brown has passed the biology test, and is awaiting scores from other tests that he had taken during the summer.

Board member Bill Price said while voting to deny Brown a waiver noted that he had passed just one test and had not applied for a project, an alternative to the testing.

"It's the sign of a student that ... just expects a waiver and doesn't try to accomplish what needs to be done," Price said.

Students also have other options, including making minimum scores on the ACT or SAT college entrance exams in order to be awarded their diploma.

In math, an ACT score of 18 or SAT score of 435 is recognized as passing the Algebra I test. An SAT score of 370 in reading or an ACT combined score of 30 on the English and reading tests, with no score below 14, is recognized as passing the English II test.

State Superintendent of Schools Janet Barresi declined to discuss Brown's specific case, but said she believes in the testing process before awarding a diploma to students.

"It is absolutely critical that Oklahoma stand behind their diploma and that their diploma means something. And that the diploma means that student has mastered subject matter," Barresi said.

Oklahoma had about 39,500 students enrolled in 12th grade for the just-completed school year, according to an Education Department spokesman. A department survey in April found that about 2,000 had not passed enough exams midway through the spring testing period, the latest numbers available.

The board's votes came after an approximately two-hour long executive session in which one waiver was approved on the recommendation of department staff and a second was approved despite a staff recommendation that it be denied.

Price, who left immediately after the meeting, said the second waiver request was "compelling" because the student had passed three of the tests, had received tutoring and attended classes in the failed subject area in which the teacher often failed to arrive because of illness.

The department said it could not release the names of those students or details of their appeals.

Details of the dismissed case also were not revealed. The department said there have been 137 student appeals filed with 17 now approved, 87 now denied, 26 dismissed, 1 withdrawn and 6 pending.