Which Subjects do State Exit Exams Test?

By Bonnie Ho — November 05, 2008 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Long a major focus of statewide testing programs, the subjects of reading and mathematics have featured even more prominently in state accountability frameworks since the federal No Child Left Behind Act took effect in 2002. Some critics have argued that focusing on a narrow set of subjects effectively marginalizes the attention devoted to other parts of the curriculum. The content of state exit exams offers one barometer to gauge the emphasis placed on various subject areas by the states. As reported in Diplomas Count 2008, each of 23 states that required exit exams for the class of 2008 tested students in both English and math. In all, just over half (12) of those states also assessed students in at least one other subject as part of the exit examination process. Among those other subjects, science and history were the most commonly tested (in 11 and nine states respectively). North Carolina was the only state requiring students to pass a test in the use of technology in order to earn a high school diploma.

For more state-by-state data on exit examinations and other topics, search the EPE Research Center’s Education Countsdatabase.



Student Well-Being K-12 Essentials Forum Boosting Student and Staff Mental Health: What Schools Can Do
Join this free virtual event based on recent reporting on student and staff mental health challenges and how schools have responded.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
Practical Methods for Integrating Computer Science into Core Curriculum
Dive into insights on integrating computer science into core curricula with expert tips and practical strategies to empower students at every grade level.
Content provided by

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: October 11, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 27, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: September 20, 2023
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education From Our Research Center What's on the Minds of Educators, in Charts
Politics, gender equity, and technology—how teachers and administrators say these issues are affecting the field.
1 min read
Stylized illustration of a pie chart
Traci Daberko for Education Week