Special education students won’t have to pass an exit exam to get a high school diploma in California under a budget deal cut by legislators. Some Democrats had wanted to drop the exam for all students.
Parents of special education students are divided on the issue, reports the San Jose Mercury News.
Some say their children are just as smart as nondisabled students and should not be held to lower standards. However, others argue the test is unfair for kids with certain disabilities who repeatedly failed the test and were consequently denied a high school diploma.
California’s exam is a four-option multiple-choice test that requires a 60 percent score to pass the English Language Arts and 55 percent for the math portion. The hardest questions cover 10th-grade English and eighth-grade math, which includes algebra. By guessing on the harder questions, students with middle-school English skills and elementary math skills should be able to pass.
Students who pass their courses but can’t pass the exam can be offered a completion certificate or a “special” diploma. Most special education students can pass the exam — in the San Jose area, nearly half pass on their first try in 10th grade. To offer them an easier alternative does them no favors.