Sent to the Santa Monica Mirror, January 18, 2012
In his State of the State Address (January 18), Gov. Brown made the sensible suggestion that California should reduce the number of tests students have to take. Here is a place to start that will result in instant savings of about a half billion dollars a year: Eliminate the High School Leaving Exam. Analyst Jo Ann Behm has estimated that the combined state and local costs of California's high school exit exam exceed $500 million per year.
The most recent review of research on exit exams, done by researchers at 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.
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
Most recent review: Holme, J., Richards, M., Jimerson, J., and Cohen, R. 2010. Assessing the effects of high school exit examinations. Review of Educational Research 80 (4): 476-526.