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ERIC Number: ED503713
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 60
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 72
Caught in the Middle: Arizona's English Language Learners and the High School Exit Exam
Kober, Nancy Ed.
Center on Education Policy
Since 2002, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) has been studying state high school exit examinations--tests that students must pass to receive a high school diploma. Each year, a national report has been published with findings about the 26 states that have or will soon implement exit exams. In addition, occasional reports have been published describing case study research about the effects of exit exams in specific high schools and school districts. An important focus of national, state, and local research has been the impact of exit exam policies on special populations of students, such as students of color and English language learners. This report, part of our broader work on exit exams, describes the results of CEP's case study research in five high schools in southern Arizona that enroll significant numbers of English language learners (ELLs). As described in more detail in the Study Methods section, these case studies encompassed interviews with 378 stakeholders, including students, teachers, parents, district and school administrators, postsecondary education officials, and state-level officials. In this report, presented is a portrait of how some Arizona educators, students, and families are faring with the state exit exam, known as Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards or AIMS. In particular, CEP examined how Arizona's exit exam policy is influencing the education of English language learners--a group of students that is caught in the middle of the challenges and controversy about exit exams and education in Arizona. This report also attempts to identify the effects of the exit exam on ELLs in Arizona and to understand why districts and high schools in Arizona continue to struggle to raise pass rates for ELLs. The lessons learned in Arizona hold relevance for many other states and districts that have experienced rapid growth in enrollments of English language learners and are struggling to help this group of students achieve at higher levels and pass exit exams. (Contains 7 tables, 3 figures, 2 boxes and 28 notes.)
Center on Education Policy. 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 522, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-822-8065; Fax: 202-822-6008; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Ford Foundation; George Gund Foundation; John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Phi Delta Kappa International
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: Arizona