Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

The High School Exit Exam Gets an "F"

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Do you know that the high school exit exam keeps at least 22,500 California students a year from graduating? These are kids who have stayed in school and otherwise completed all of the high school requirements! Oh, it gets worse - most of the students who cannot pass the test are female and/or non-white, and for these students, their graduation rates have dropped 15-19% since 2007 when this requirement began!

How can this be happening? These students can take this test multiple times, starting in their sophomore year, includes a math test aligned to the 8th grade standards and an English test aligned with the 10th grade standards, and by the way, has been criticized for being too easy. Well apparently not for 22,500 students.

Our schools are obviously not teaching to standards, not providing the support these students need and passing kids who have not successfully learned the material at each grade. In addition, those schools with multiple years history with the exit exam are not requiring the test in sophomore year and then helping the kids learn what they are missing so they can pass. How hard is this?

We have managed to make failing to graduate from high school a personal failure instead of a social failure to provide an adequate education and I for one think this is ridiculous!
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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