ERIC Number: EJ858817
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Reference Count: 2
Time to Say Goodbye to High School Exit Exams
Bracey, Gerald W.
Principal Leadership, v10 n2 p64-66 Oct 2009
In recent years, a concatenation of fears, pressures, and agendas has produced a new round of testing in the form of high school exit examinations. There has not, however, been an accompanying rush to see whether the exams do any good. No state has attempted to validate its test against external criteria: given the hyperbole surrounding the tests and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent to develop, administer, and score them, the political costs of finding that the tests are not working would be too great. The author explores the effects of high school exit exams and discusses the findings of a research conducted by Reardon, Atteberry, Arshan, and Kurlaender (2009) on the effects of exit exams on academic achievement. The research by Reardon et al. was consistent with another study by Warren, Grodsky, and Lee (2008). That research found that the class of 2006 faced an exit exam in 22 states: States have generally adopted HSEEs [high school exit examinations] in response to the perception that many high school graduates lack the skills required for success in the "new economy" and that requiring students to pass a high-stakes test that assesses their mastery of basic skills will make the high school diploma more meaningful to employers. Over the 20-year period they examined, Warren, Grodsky, and Lee found that the onset of an exit exams don't do what its advocates contended. They concluded that the results revealed no evidence that state HSEEs positively affect labor force status or earnings or that the connections between state HSEE policies and these outcomes vary by students' race/ethnicity or the level of difficulty of the state HSEEs... These examinations must be seen as a colossal waste of education and human resources, harmful to those whose educational attainments are curtailed by failing them and of little use to those who pass them (Warren et al., 2008, p. 101).
Descriptors: High Schools, Academic Achievement, High School Graduates, Exit Examinations, Labor Force, Grade 10, Grade 11, Grade 12, High Stakes Tests, Outcomes of Education, Educational Research
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site: http://www.principals.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12; High Schools
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; United States