California releases high school exit exam results

Southern California high school students performed better than their counterparts last year on the statewide high school exit exam. California released the results of the mandatory test today.

Many school districts in the region reported that more students than before passed the exam on their first try. Students may take the test of math and English skills for the first time in 10th grade; they must pass it before they can earn high school diplomas.

In Orange County, more than 86 percent of 10th graders passed both portions of the exam. That county exceeded the statewide pass rate of 81 percent — and Riverside County came close, with 80 percent.

Los Angeles County’s 10th grade pass rate — 72 percent for math and 73 percent for English — fell short of the state, but demonstrated improvement for the county over last year. Those scores bested the marks posted by 10th-graders last year, when 70 percent passed the math portion and 71 percent passed English.

A similar picture emerged in San Bernardino County, where 78 percent of 10th graders passed the English test and 76 percent passed math; both levels exceeded the previous year.

"I am pleased that the latest Exit Exam results show that more of our students are mastering the mathematics and English-language arts skills measured by this exam,'' said Jack O'Connell, state Superintendent of Public Instruction.

O'Connell noted that the results showed the achievement gap between black/Hispanic students and Asian/white students was narrowing. By the end of their senior years, 89.7 percent of black students and 91.6 percent of Hispanic students had passed the exam, compared with 97.4 percent of Asian students and 98.1 percent of white students, according to the state.

KPCC wire services contributed to this report.

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