No exit for 11 percent

Less than 11 percent of California’s high school seniors have failed the exit exam once again. Last year, when the exit exam wasn’t a graduation requirement, 13 percent of seniors didn’t complete the courses needed to graduate. It’s likely that most students who can’t pass the exam, which requires no more than seventh through 10th grade skills, wouldn’t have graduated anyhow.

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  1. All that hoopla for nothing!

    Texas also had its public outcry against standardized testing before it was implemented. Now, it is just part of the curriculum. It holds kids accountable; it holds schools accountable. It guarantees that schools aren’t claiming to teach Algebra and Geometry and really just having parties in class every day.

    It’s frustrating as a high school educator to have kids walk into a 9th grade Algebra class with a 4th grade math base, and I am expected to get them completely caught up in math and teach them Algebra along with the 25+ other students in the class who are all at different ability levels. The plan in Texas is, in the near future, a student who doesn’t pass the 8th grade TAKS will not go on to the 9th grade….I hope the TAKS stays around that long and doesn’t evolve into something else.

  2. dogbert2 says:

    In 8th grade, I (along with many other students) was tested to see what types of math, science, english, and history we could take with a reasonable chance of success in completing the class in question.

    As I recall, and this was from 29 years ago, in order to place into algebra I, you had to score mid-range in stanines (4-6) and have scores of C or better (when a C actually meant a C, btw) in math in grades 7-8.

    To allow a student into a algebra I class when the student only has 4th grade math knowledge (which assumes add, subtract, multiply, and divide) is completely insane and when placement was enforced, the ability of all students in the class was roughly the same.

    In our school district (nation’s 5th largest, btw), students grade levels are solely determined by credits earned, not by age level. After those rules were implemented, we started having 17 year olds being classified as 9th or 10th graders (and we do have regs providing for student promotion from middle school to high school).

  3. Wayne Martin says:

    Given how expensive it is to provide public education, it might be best for issue a “Certificate of Attendence” for those that have otherwise completed their coursework, but failed the Exit Exam.

    These people would be able to retake the Exit Exam in the future, and if they eventually pass it, have their “Certificate” upgraded to a full “Diploma”.

  4. Lonesome Moderate says:

    “It’s likely that most students who can’t pass the exam, which requires no more than seventh through 10th grade skills, wouldn’t have graduated anyhow.”

    What’s the basis for that statement? I thought that the whole point of the exit exams was to ensure that students were not graduating without actually learning the material in the classes they had passed.

  5. Lonesome Moderate says:

    Why do we require students to know algebra in order to graduate from high school? Algebra has always been a college prep course so far as I know–is this simply to push more students to attend college?