State Graduation Tests Found to Hit Certain Groups Harder
By Debra Viadero | Ed Week
April 27, 2009
A study released last week suggesting that California’s high school exit exams are affecting some student demographic groups more than others is the latest in a small spate of studies pointing to trade-offs from policies that require high school students to pass state tests to graduate.
Twenty-six states have exit exams in place or will by 2012, according to the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based group that tracks accountability policies.
While proponents see the exams as a way to spur students to higher levels of achievement, critics worry that the requirements come down harder on students from poor families, minority groups, or underresourced schools.
The California, which was released April 22 by the Institute for Research on Education Policy and Practice at Stanford University, gauges the effect of the Golden State’s 6-year-old graduation policy on the first three graduating classes to take the new exit exams in four of the state’s largest districts. Collectively enrolling 110,000 high school students, the districts serve students in Fresno, Long Beach, San Diego, and San Francisco.