All California asks of its twelfth-graders is to pass an exit exam (you get six tries!) that tests ninth-grade standards in reading and seventh-grade standards in math. Ninety-three percent of the class of 2007 passed it. Results from that class also showed rising success rates for African-American, Latino, and poor youngsters. White and Asian students continue to pass at higher rates, though, and state supe Jack O'Connell acknowledged as much: "We see some closing of the achievement gap, but we still need to do much more." But despite the mostly positive results, a few folks still insist that the exam requires too much of students. Liz Guillen, who works at a civil rights law firm, detects "a backlash [against the idea] that one test can be the sole indicator of a person's knowledge or qualification." The truth is this: If you can't read or do math at middle-school levels--and you have six chances to show that you can--that will be the sole indicator of your knowledge and qualification. Sorry, but that's how the world works. Some in California need to get with the program, stop denying reality, and chip in to get all kids up to the exit exam's most minimum of minimum academic levels.
"California high schoolers improve on exit exam," by Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times August 24, 2007
"Legislature revisits exit test," by Jim Sanders, Sacramento Bee, August 26, 2007