Thursday, March 30, 2006

Black students and those learning English had the lowest pass rate on the California high school graduation exam

Steve Lawrence:

All but roughly 10 percent of California high school seniors who are required to take the state's graduation exam have passed it, but failure rates are higher among blacks, Latinos, the poor and those who are learning English, state officials said Tuesday.

About 89 percent of the 430,894 members of the Class of 2006 who must pass the exam to receive a diploma had done so as of November, said Jack O'Connell, state superintendent of public instruction. That left nearly 48,000 seniors who hadn't passed both sections of the test, which measure students' skills in math and English.

Those figures don't take into consideration seniors who might have passed the test in February or March and the 22,327 special education students who don't have to pass the test to graduate this year, O'Connell said.

Results from the February and March exams will be available in six or seven weeks, officials said. The test also will be given in May, but those results won't be known in time for students to receive a diploma in June.

This year's seniors are the first who must pass the test to graduate.

After the November results were calculated, 96 percent of white students and 94 percent of Asians had passed the test. The figure was 82 percent for Latinos and students classified as "economically disadvantaged," O'Connell said.

The pass rate was lowest for black students — 80 percent — and those learning English — 69 percent.

O'Connell, a former state senator who is the sponsor of the bill that set up the test, said the pass rate was steadily improving and that the exam was ensuring high school graduates have minimum proficiency.

"The skills measured by the exam are the least we must expect by our students if we expect them to survive in the competitive world beyond high school," he said.

9 of 10 students pass state exit exam

Most Seniors Pass H.S. Exit Test

Editorial: 48,000 to go

Exit exam estimates: 31 percent of English learners don't pass


At 5:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the least we must expect"

In other words, the test is simple enough that anyone who knows how to read, write, and do some arithmetic (fractions, percentages etc) ought to be able to pass.

What I would like to see is this same test administered to, say, 8th graders -- the year just before beginning high school. Just to see what the pass rate would be; I would guess Whites and Asians would also pass the test in large numbers at that age. Perhaps even younger -- say, 6th grade.

It is no surprise, but still a problem, that English learners do relatively poorly. An even bigger problem is that in California there is a never-ending flow of English learners. Also because the test is now required, teachers will begin teaching with the goal of getting students to the point where they can pass the test, meaning this bare minimum level of achievement will be the outcome of a high school education for many students. Pathetic.

At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are people in California going to wake up and realize that they are being rapidly transformed from an American state into a Third World country?


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