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Conflicting Views of the California High School Exit Exam - Essay Example

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In California there is currently no easy answer for students and parents who wait to learn if they will be able to graduate. Some 47,000 students failed the California High School Exit Exam, which will currently prevent them from receiving a diploma. Arguments are mixed as to how the Supreme Court should rule…
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Conflicting Views of the California High School Exit Exam
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Download file to see previous pages First, what is the minimum education children should have to graduate Are there a set of standards which have to be met, and a certain level of proficiency achieved Secondly, what does a high school diploma symbolize If it is meant to suggest that a person has attended high school, than by all means drop the exam. However, if it is meant to suggest that this student has an education, and has learned and met minimum levels of ability, then the exam should stand. Otherwise the degree is devalued for all those who truly earned it. Finally, can California make a clear case for discrimination, and prove that the exam is not fair to underserved children If so, then the results can not be validated. If they can prove that all children (while possibly not evenly served) have had enough opportunity to pass the exam, then the results should be upheld. By reviewing a brief history of the exam, and looking at both sides of the argument, it is clear that the exam should remain valid, and those 47,000 students should not be awarded their diplomas.
The California High School Exit Exam is a new and fairly untested program. Originally slated to count towards graduation for the class of 2004, the schools held off until 2006, after state wide improvements were made to the schools. The exam tests for proficiency in eighth grade level math, and tenth grade level English. A student must get a fifty-five percent or higher to pass, and has six chances to pass the test.
All over California people are arguing about the California High School Exit Exam. They claim that it is unfair, and that it expects too much of the students. Randy Dong, a California journalist suggests that it is not in the interest of education that these children are being tested, but rather in the interest of social promotion. He says "we are throwing algebraic and geometric problems at students who cannot even perform basic arithmetic" (Dong 2006). However, the exam only tests through eighth grade math and tenth grade reading (Washburn 2006). These children have twelve or more years of education, yet they can not pass proficiencies below their own level of academia. While Dong is in the minority, arguing about content, his view is important. In reviewing what is at stake, it is important to ask how low United States citizens are willing to set the bar in education. What should be a minimum level or proficiency to have a diploma Where Dong argues that algebra is too high a standard for students graduating from high school, others argue that the standards set by the test are two low. In an editorial from the Press-Enterprise, it questions "Freedman decreed that requiring students in low-performing schools to answer correctly just 55 percent of the questions in eighth-grade math and 60 percent of the questions in 10th-grade English - even after six tries - is an arbitrary violation of the state constitution." For students whose education has respectively passed four and two years beyond those levels, those minimums seem low, not high. With six tries, and tutoring available, no child should be able to fail that test, and if they do, then why should they be allowed a diploma Judge Freedman ruled that denying students the diploma would negatively impact their self-esteem, but what about the devaluation of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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