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

Thursday, August 17, 2006

High School Exit Exams Have Peaked

Could it be that the present-day orgy of tabulation has reached its zenith? A new report (pdf) from the Center on Education Policy brings evidence that the fever might have broken, in the area of high school exams at least. Here is part of the Press Release from CEP:
WASHINGTON – August 16, 2006 – For the first time, growth in the number of states requiring students to pass an exit exam in order to earn a high school diploma has stalled, according to a report from the independent, Washington, D.C.- based Center on Education Policy, which also tracks significant changes in how exit exams are being implemented nationwide.

According to the report, no state legislature adopted a new exit exam requirement in 2006 although Maryland, Washington, and Oklahoma are following through on plans set earlier to phase in exit exams. Of the four states scheduled to begin withholding diplomas based on exam performance this year, Arizona and California did so only after facing significant legal challenges, while Utah backed down from its earlier plans to do so. Idaho began withholding diplomas in 2006 with less conflict and controversy than other states experienced.
Here are some interesting stats on state high school exit exams from an earlier post:

Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of blacks, 9 have high school exit exams. Five (*) of these ten make up half of the states that use a test to make promotion decisions in elementary grades.

Mississippi (1989)
Louisiana* (1991)
South Carolina* (1990)
Georgia* (1994)
Maryland (1982)
Alabama (1985)
North Carolina* (1982)
Virginia (1986)
Delaware* (No HS Test)
Tennessee (1986)

Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of Hispanics, 8 have high school exit exams. Five (*) of these ten make up the other half of the 10 states that use a test to make promotion decisions in elementary grades.

New Mexico* (1990)
California* (2006)
Texas* (1987)
Arizona (2006)
Nevada (1981)
Colorado (no test)
Florida* (1979)
New York* (1980)
New Jersey (1985)
Illinois (no test)

Of the 10 states with the highest percentage of whites, only one (Minnesota) has a high school exit exam. None uses a test to determine grade promotion in elementary grades.

Maine (no HS test)
Vermont (no HS test)
New Hampshire (no HS test)
W. Virginia (no HS test)
Iowa (no HS test)
North Dakota (no HS test)
Montana (no HS test)
Kentucky (no HS test)
Wyoming (no HS test
Minnesota (2000)

The 10 states with the lowest graduation rates. . . you guessed it. All of them have high school exit exams, and 9 of them have had exit exams for more than 10 years:

Georgia (1994)
Nevada (1981)
Florida (1979)
Arizona (2006)
Tennessee (1986)
S. Carolina (1990)
Mississippi (1989)
Alabama (1985)
North Carolina (1982)
New Mexico (1990)

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