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

Thursday, January 06, 2011

High school exit exams: Who profits?

Two letters in the San Diego Union Tribune

Addressing state education issues

Jan 3, 2011

In “The ‘impossible’ challenges facing education” (Opinion, Dec. 26) the now-former California superintendent of public instruction, Jack O’Connell, points out that “California’s economic crisis has provided a too-easy excuse for slashing of children’s services ranging from child care to pre-K-12 education and more.”

Many of these cuts will be catastrophic. But there are some cuts the state should consider that can make things better. A clear example is eliminating the official High School Exit Exam. Analyst Jo Ann Behm has estimated that the combined state and local costs of California’s exit exam exceed $500 million per year.

The most recent review of research on exit exams, by the University of Texas, concluded that high school exit exams do not lead to more college attendance, increased student learning or higher employment. In fact, researchers have yet to discover any benefits of having a high school exit exam.

Stephen Krashen

Improving California’s state of education

Jan 5

In his letter (“Addressing state education issues,” Jan. 3), Stephen Krashen writes, “In fact, researchers have yet to discover any benefits of having a high school exit exam.” Let me suggest the beneficiaries of high school exit exams: the companies who write the tests, the companies who write and sell the test preparation guides, and the companies who analyze the test results. Oh, yes, and their lobbyists and the legislators who voted for the exams.

Peter Klein

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