AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Critics of a Texas law allowing students to graduate without passing statewide standardized tests say the new rule has padded graduation numbers and given diplomas to students who can't demonstrate they have the knowledge they'll need in college, jobs or technical education.

However, proponents of Senate Bill 149 say it has provided opportunities for students who struggle because of language barriers or learning disabilities to have a way to succeed in high school, the Austin American-Statesman (http://atxne.ws/2d13hgI ) reports.

The newspaper reports graduation rates in Texas have hit an all-time high since the law was signed in 2015.

More than 5,800 students statewide graduated in 2015 despite failing at least one of five end-of-course exams that are part of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, or STAAR test.