Monday, December 22, 2008
Fewer California Students Pass High School Exit Exam
One in 10 high school seniors from the class of 2008 failed to pass California's exit exam by graduation. This 10% failing rate was the highest since the test became mandatory in 2005.
Some say the reason the rate dipped was because the graduates in Special Ed programs had to take the same test.
The LA Times reported that, "Special education students' graduation rate dipped nearly 3 percentage points for the class of 2008 because of the requirement". Special Ed students can stay in high school until they are 22 years old and can continue to take the exit exam.
Some fear, however, that many who failed do not continue to take the exam after failing the first time. For example in 2006, nearly 39,000 did not pass the exam in time for graduation, and in the two years that have since elapsed, fewer than 4,800 have passed.
The article continues that efforts to narrow the achievement gap between white and Asian students and their black and Latino peers also showed little success.
State Senator O'Connell who wrote the legislation that introduced the exit exam said, "We know all students can learn . . . no matter what their economic status or native language," he said. "We must continue our efforts to close the achievement gap."
Beginning in their sophomore year, students have several chances to take the two-part test. A score of at least 55% on the math portion, which is geared to an eighth-grade level, and 60% on the English portion, which is ninth- or 10th-grade level, is required.
What do you think about an exit exam to get a high school diploma?