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About 1,500 La. Seniors Fail Controversial Exit Examination

More than 1,500 Louisiana high school seniors will not receive their diplomas after failing the state graduation examination--a test that parents have challenged.

Some of those students would not have graduated even if they had passed the exit exam because they have not earned all of their course credits and have missed too many days of school, state education department officials said.

How many students fail to graduate solely based on the five-part exam will not be known for sure until sometime this summer.

The state supreme court in April refused to hear an appeal by a group of parents who had challenged the constitutionality of the test, which Louisiana has been using since 1991. One of the justices said the lawsuit had no other chance for appeal in the state judicial system. The lawyer for the parents said he is considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A state district court in 1993 ruled that the test was unconstitutional because it was not required of students enrolled in private and parochial schools. The judge found that the test violated the equal-protection clauses of the state and federal constitutions.

But a state court of appeals upheld the use of the test in an April ruling.

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