In most states, passing the graduation exam doesn’t guarantee students are ready for college or the workplace, concludes a Center on Education Policy report. Sixty-five percent of American students must pass an exam to receive a high school diploma. By 2012, 76 percent of students will face an exit exam in 26 states.
(Of 23 states surveyed), only six say that the purpose of the test is to measure the knowledge and skills needed for college-readiness, while nine indicate work-readiness as a purpose.
In contrast, 18 states say that the tests â€” which are generally aligned to the 10th-grade level â€” are intended to determine mastery of the state curriculum (e.g. standards, curriculum framework). And 18 states say that the exams are used to provide data to state policymakers on student progress toward state education goals to inform policy decisions.
I know of no state that asks high school graduates to demonstrate mastery of 11th- or 12th-grade skills. In most, the hardest questions reflect what’s supposed to be taught in ninth and 10th grade.
I don’t think college readiness should be the minimum standard for high school graduation, if that’s defined as something more than “has a pulse.” However, you’d think that work readiness would a reasonable expectation.