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Exit exams: Local students

October 04, 2001

test below average

By KELLY GRANT, Staff Writer

Results of the first-ever California High School Exit Examination released yesterday show Imperial County students below the state average in percentages of students passing the English-language arts and mathematics portions.

While 64 percent of tested students statewide passed the English portion, 56 percent passed in Imperial County. On the state level, 44 percent passed the mathematics portion while 32 percent passed it in Imperial County.

Of freshmen taking the exit exam at Brawley Union High School, 54 percent passed the English portion and 28 percent passed the mathematics.


At De Anza and William Moreno junior high schools in Calexico, 50 percent of participating ninth-graders passed the English portion and 29 percent passed the mathematics portion.

Calipatria High School had the largest percentage of Imperial Valley freshmen passing the English portion with 73 percent. Only half of the 96 enrolled freshmen took the test there, while most schools had significantly larger percentages of their freshmen taking the exam.

Calipatria High, however, posted the lowest percentage of freshmen passing the mathematics portion of the exam at 17 percent.

Central Union High School had 61 percent of its participating freshmen pass the English portion and 38 percent pass the math.

The results at Southwest High were similar with 60 percent passing the English portion and 36 percent passing the math.

At Holtville High, 58 percent of those tested passed the English portion and 34 percent passed the math.

Imperial High School posted strong scores on both portions with 69 percent of tested students passing the English portion and 47 percent passing the math.

Central Union High School Principal Emma Jones said preparing students for the High School Exit Exam is similar to preparing the students for the SAT 9, as the same standards are used on both.

Jones said it's hard to project just how many students will be in serious danger of not graduating after repeated attempts at the test. The Central Union High School District, like other districts in Imperial Valley, has remediation offerings for students who don't pass the exam. The math department at Central is in the process of developing some new curriculum offerings that will help students on the exam.

Wednesday's exam data, which combines the results of two administrations of the test given last March and May, show that 34 percent of the ninth-grade test-takers statewide passed both parts of the test.

Based on state Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin's recommendation, the state Board of Education ruled in June that high school students must score at least 60 percent on the English-language arts section and 55 percent on the mathematics section to receive a high school diploma.

State law requires that students in California public schools must pass the exit exam to receive a high school diploma, beginning with the class of 2004. That is in addition to individual school district graduation requirements.

Last spring, about 370,000, or 78 percent, of the state's ninth-graders took the exit exam as volunteers. Freshmen who did not elect to take the exam, or who took the exam and failed, will be required to take it as 10th-graders in spring 2002. Students will have several opportunities to take and pass the exam throughout their high school years.

The exam addressed state content standards through 10th-grade in English-language arts. The mathematics portion addressed content standards through algebra 1. Questions for both parts of the exam were in a multiple-choice format, except for two written essays required for English-language arts.

A complete listing of exit exam results by school, district, county and state are available at

Parents who wish to know more about the exam are advised to contact their child's school office.

Staff Writer Kelly Grant can be reached at 337-3441.

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