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Flawed Exit Exam Still a Symptom of Trouble

June 17, 2003

Re "High School Exit Exam Faces Delay," June 14: Am I the only parent who is appalled that so many students are unable to pass these tests? Instead of blaming the exam, parents should be hounding their schools about the level of education their children are receiving. My son, an African American, passed the English exam his freshman year and the math portion his sophomore year. He passed not only because of the schools he attends but because we as his parents have read to him and worked with him after school for years.

What happens when, two years from now, large numbers of students are still unable to pass the test? We need to treat the problem -- truly supporting our public schools, including with increased spending -- rather than attacking the symptom.

Jackie McCoy

South Pasadena


Re "Exit Exam Fails the Test," editorial, June 14: I agree that the exit exam is a flawed, hastily assembled strategy to establish statewide high school graduation standards. If the public fears that the exam's exit would leave a vacuum, they should know that local school districts throughout California have long required graduates to pass proficiency tests.

Be that as it may, I have a proposal that would allow California to save face, preserve its investment in the test and, at the same time, address California State University complaints that many freshmen are not prepared.

Why not make the exit exam, or some facsimile thereof, an entrance exam for our state college system?

Lanny Kaufer



The exit exam fails the test because of inappropriate courses. In the past three years, the Los Angeles Unified School District has dropped both high school basic math and pre- algebra. Both were one-year courses, and completion satisfied the two-year math requirement for graduation.

By June 2004 students must complete Algebra I and geometry to graduate. This two-year jump in math level means thousands of students learn nothing in too-hard math classes. This leads directly to the low pass rates on the exit exam.

Bob Munson

Newbury Park

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