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ERIC Number: ED514155
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 47
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 35
State High School Tests: Exit Exams and Other Assessments
Dietz, Shelby
Center on Education Policy
Since 2002, the Center on Education Policy (CEP), an independent nonprofit organization, has been studying state high school exit examinations--tests students must pass to receive a high school diploma. This is CEP's ninth annual report on exit exams. The information in this report comes from several sources: CEP's survey of states that have mandatory exit exams, surveys of states without exit exams, media reports, state Web sites, and personal correspondence with state education officials. This report focuses on the impact of high school exit exams across the nation as well as new developments in high school exit exam policies that have occurred since CEP's last report on this topic in 2009. This year's report also contains a new feature providing information on trends in state graduation requirements and assessment policies in states that do not require exit exams. Key findings of this study include: (1) The number of states with exit exams increased from 26 states to 28 states, with the addition of Oregon and Rhode Island; (2) The percentage of all public school students enrolled in states administering exit exams has reached 74%; (3) Recent research concludes that high school exit exams may have a negative impact on certain student populations, such as low-performing students, student of color, or students from low-income families; (4) The number of states currently administering end-of-course exit exams increased to 7 states; (5) 23 of the 28 states with exit exams have adopted the Common Core State Standards in both English language arts and mathematics; (6) 23 of the 28 states with exit exams have joined at least one of the two federally funded state consortia developing new assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards, and some have reported that the assessments could potentially replace their exit exams; (7) Seven states reported that tightening education budgets at both the state and local levels impacted funding for programs related to high school exit exams; (8) States use varying calculation methods to determine initial and cumulative pass rates on high school exit exams; (9) End-of-course (EOC) exams are growing in popularity even in states that do not require exit exams for graduation; (10) States with and without high school exit exams are moving toward policies that require students to take college entrance exams; and (11) States with and without exit exam policies already use or are considering adopting portfolio-based assessments or senior projects as part of the state high school testing system. Graduation Rate Definitions is appended. Individual chapters contain footnotes. (Contains 2 boxes, 4 figures and 4 tables.)
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: Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: George Gund Foundation; Phi Delta Kappa International
Authoring Institution: Center on Education Policy