"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Exit Exams as Part of the War Against the Poor and the Brown

High school exit exams are new to Arizona, and many people there, as noted in this story, are wondering about the fairness of such tests. Some must know that one of the most reliable predictors of test scores is family income, as shown on this information that FairTest obtained from the College Board in 2002. These same correlations, by the way, can be found in any set of state test scores or in international comparisons, regardless of grade level.

Family Income----Verbal/Math Scores

Less than $10,000/year-----417/442
$10,000 - $20,000/year-----435/453
$20,000 - $30,000/year-----461/470
$30,000 - $40,000/year-----480/485
$40,000 - $50,000/year-----496/501
$50,000 - $60,000/year-----505/509
$60,000 - $70,000/year-----511/516
$70,000 - $80,000/year-----517/524
$80,000 - $100,000/year-----530/538
More than $100,000/year-----555/568

Perhaps these same ambivalent Arizona citizens could use these facts as they reconsider their decision:
  • Of the 10 states with the highest African-American populations, 9 have high school exit exams
  • Of the 10 states with the highest Hispanic populations, 8 have high school exit exams
  • Of the 10 states with highest white populations, 1 has a high school exit exam
  • of the 10 states with lowest graduation rates, all ten have high school exit exams; and 9 of these states have had them for more than 10 years

Very effective policy--very effective in the continuing oppression of minorities and the poor.


  1. Great information as usual, Dr Horn.

    It gets worse. They've changed the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS) every year by either changing the test, pushing back the enforcement date for graduation requirement, or changing the "cut" score for passage. Odd that it is deemed an educational tool when politicians seem to be the only ones that can change it.

    They've recently added the ability to have your grades count as "bonus points" to your overall score to help push those that are close over the line. This was designed because there still remain some 23,000 students that have not passed all three parts of AIMS.

    Our Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne, is celebrating because his goal was to get 90% of those who normally would have graduated to pass AIMS. What about the "gap" between that 90% and where we are now? Horne is confident that kids dropping out of school will take care of that problem.

    I'm not making that up. He is actually relying on drop-outs and push-outs to close the gap.


    More on AIMS.

  2. Why am I not surprised to see Joe Thomas on here, supporting this spewer of hatred and anti-testing hysteria?

    Hi, Joe! (waving!)

  3. BTW, how are these students being oppressed by having the failure of their education system pointed out? Cockroaches scurry from the light.