Beginning with the Class of 2006, students must pass the California graduation exam to receive a diploma. The exam has two parts, math and English. Students in the 12th grade must demonstrate proficiency at the eighth-grade level in math and at the ninth-grade to tenth-grade levels in English to graduate. Unfortunately, the students' success rate needs improvement. According to a report by the Virginia-based Human Resources Research Organization (HRRO), about 20 percent, approximately 100,000, of the state's high school seniors have not been able to pass the exam.
Naturally, the usual suspects have protested. Disability rights advocates, minority rights advocates, special education advocates, and high school students have loudly voiced complaints of being victimized by an unfair system. All in all, the protesters want the requirements to be dumbed-down, with everyone getting special consideration.
Lauress L. Wise, president of HRRO, sees a need to provide dumbed-down options for the failing students. Specifically,
The state, for example, could allow seniors to submit portfolios of work that demonstrate mastery of English and math, the report's authors suggested.
The report also proposed that schools allow students to spend an extra year in high school or earn diplomas by completing special summer school programs in lieu of the exam.
Additionally, the state could establish alternate diplomas or graduation certificates for students who pass part of the exit exam, the group said.
In summary, Wise is suggesting ways for students to avoid taking the exam or ways for them to graduate despite failing the exam. I believe
this would be called "business as usual."
However, Jack O'Connell, California Superintendent of Public Instruction, stated that he won't entertain any changes to the system which would diminish the value of a high school diploma. Nevertheless, his staff has been instructed to review the recommendations in the report.
Companion at Interested-Participant.