Report recommends delaying high school exit exams

Posted: Thursday, July 06, 2000

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The state should delay a new high school exit exam because students aren't ready and neither is the test, an independent report said.

The exit exam is a key part of Gov. Gray Davis' efforts to reform California public schools.

To earn a diploma, members of the graduating class of 2004 will have to pass during their high school years, in addition to meeting local requirements. They will be able to take the test as often as they wish, beginning as freshmen, which for the class of 2004 would be this coming school year.

The report, delivered Wednesday to the state Legislature by the Alexandria, Va.-based Human Resources Research Organization, said schools need more time to prepare students for the exam. The state also still needs to develop a test that will meet both professional standards and possible legal challenges, the study said.

Exit exams have been challenged in other states, including Florida and Texas, on the grounds that students were not adequately taught the test material.

In a sample test given to 12,000 secondary students in May, about 60 percent would have passed the English portion and nearly 50 percent the math portion if the passing score were set at 50 percent, said Paul Warren, a deputy superintendent with the California Department of Education.

The report urged the state to carefully consider the minimum passing score. The state also must plan for disabled students, the report said.

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