Berkeley Unified School District, Flickr

California High School Exit Exam in limbo

By EdSource Staff

Updated on December 23, 2015

The EdSource Today editorial team has selected several significant education issues to present in timelines that will be regularly updated. The timelines allow you to quickly get up to speed on EdSource’s coverage of these notable issues. Scroll down the page to get a snapshot of the key events that occurred. Click on the headlines to read the articles that explain why, when, and how the events evolved, as well as the most recent developments.

2015 marked the end, at least for now, of the California High School Exit Exam, the ambitious initiative created to ensure every student graduated high school with basic skills in math and English. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law measures to suspend the exam for at least three years, and award diplomas retroactively to students who failed the test but met every other graduation requirement.

Nearly 5 million students have taken the test since it debuted in 2001. It became a requirement for graduation starting with the class of 2006. Supporters of the test said it raised the bar for graduation by encouraging students to work harder and pressured schools to increase their efforts to close the achievement gap. Opponents argued that the test has discouraged some low-achieving students from staying in school and that it disproportionately punished low-income children and English learners who were unable to pass the test.

Based on EdSource articles and commentaries, the following storyline tracks the debates and legislative actions that have occurred since 2013.


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