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Exit exam scores up

Posted: August 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 23, 2012 2:00 a.m.

By Perry Smith

Signal Education Writer

More than 92 percent of Hart district 10th-graders passed the state’s high school exit exam on their first try last school year, according to statewide results released Wednesday.

The California High School Exit Exam is administered statewide each year to make sure high school graduates are up to California’s standard for reading, writing and mathematics.

“We are pleased with the results,” said Dave LeBarron, director of curriculum and assessment for the William S. Hart Union High School District. “But we expect to do well, and we’d be very upset if we didn’t.”

The Hart district’s class of 2012 was the seventh to pass the exit exam since it was required, according to California Department of Education officials. Hart district students have had a pass rate higher than 90 percent for the last three years, according to district officials.

“These tests are instruction indicators,” LeBarron said, explaining the tests, administered in March, also gauge how well schools are teaching to state standards, not necessarily just student results.

One of the areas in which the district may improve is in the results for Hispanic students’ exit exam performances, LeBarron said.

The average for that demographic is 78 percent pass in language arts and 83 percent in math.

As good as the overall scores are, “We can do better,” LeBarron said. “We’re looking at how do we make sure we’re closing the gap for (Hispanic students).”

The district already offers a variety of what it calls intervention programs for English-language-learners, as well as developmental classes.

Overall, 88 percent of Hart district students who took the language arts portion of the high school exit exam passed, compared to 75 percent of county students and 78 percent of students statewide.

Districtwide, the class of 2012 did slightly better than the class of 2011, according to Department of Education figures. The class of 2011 scored 91 percent overall.

Looking ahead, state officials registered concern for the future with pending budget cuts posing a threat to gains made in the exam results.

“While I’m happy about the progress made by the class of 2012, I still have concerns for the class of 2013 and the class of 2014,” said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction.

“We have made solid improvement, but schools and districts are facing some unprecedented challenges right now.”

The pass rate for California’s high school exit exam increased slightly for the class of 2012, marking the sixth straight year of gains, state education officials announced Wednesday.

Torlakson told a news conference that the pass rate rose 1 percentage point to 95 percent.



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