Published Online: June 17, 2008
Published in Print: June 18, 2008, as Exit Exams

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Exit Exams

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“Predicting Success, Preventing Failure: An Investigation of the California High School Exit Exam”

A California high school student’s academic grade point average is the strongest predictor of whether he or she will pass the state’s exit exam, a new studyRequires Adobe Acrobat Reader shows. But nonacademic factors—such as absences and even behavior in elementary school—are also strong indications of how successful students will be when they take the exam.

Released June 11 by the Public Policy Institute of California, based in San Francisco, the report also finds that African-American students, English-language learners, and students in special education are less likely than others to pass the exam.

The report argues that the state’s policy of targeting public tutoring funds to students once they reach 12th grade is far too late to be effective, especially since most students who fail the exam on the first try don’t take it again. Recommendations include directing more tutoring money to the elementary and middle school levels, and developing an “early warning” system to forecast which students might be likely to fail the exam.

Vol. 27, Issue 42, Page 5

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