Sent to the Los Angeles Times, March 17, 2012
State Supt. Torlakson urges us to find the “will and the resources to end the financial emergency facing our public schools,” and prevent California from laying off 20,000 teachers. How about eliminating the High School Exit Exam? (“About 19,500 public school teachers in state get pink slips,” March 16).
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, about 10% of the proposed budget cut.
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.
It makes no sense to lay off teachers while keeping a useless and expensive test.
Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California
310 924 2490
Rossier School of Education, USC, Los Angeles 90089-0031
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.