September 10, 2008
LBUSD Students Ace State Exit Exam
By Kevin Butler
LONG BEACH - About 90 percent of the Class of 2008 in the Long Beach Unified School District has passed the high school exit exam, equaling the performance of the state as a whole, according to data released Tuesday.
The California Department of Education said that an estimated 90.2 percent of last year's seniors statewide met the exit exam graduation requirement by passing both the English and the math components of the test.
In the Long Beach Unified School District,
90 percent of students in the Class of 2008 have passed the exam. But the district has not yet received the results of those seniors who took the exam in July.
Those results will not be available until perhaps later this month, said James Gulek, LBUSD assistant superintendent of research, planning and evaluation.
The passing rate for the LBUSD Class of 2008 was about the same as that for the previous year.
The Class of 2006 was the first in California to be required to pass the test in order to receive a diploma.
How other districts did
The Bellflower Unified School District has seen 90.5 percent of the Class of 2008 pass the exam, with the July results yet to arrive.
The ABC Unified School District saw a passage rate of 92.2 percent in the Class of 2008, but it is still waiting on the results from the July test administration. Last year, 89.9 percent of the Class of 2007 met the requirement.
In the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District, 92 percent of the Class of 2008 passed both parts of the test, not including the July results.
Results for other area districts were not immediately available.
In the LBUSD, about 400 more students took the exit exam in the Class of 2008 than did the previous cohort of students, Gulek said.
California students take the test for the first time in
10th grade, with additional test opportunities during their junior and senior years.
Students who do not pass the test during their high school career can continue studying for and taking the test elsewhere, such as an adult school.
Overall, about 570 students in the LBUSD Class of 2008 have not passed both parts of the exit exam.
Nearly 40 percent of those who have not passed are special education students, some of whom are not diploma-track because of cognitive disabilities, Gulek said. Such students' individualized education program may call for them to skip the test entirely for that reason, he said.
The LBUSD gives its freshmen class a "mock" exit exam and uses the results to identify students for placement in additional English and math periods.
LBUSD students also can take elective high school exit exam prep classes during the school day, at evening school or during the summer, he said.
Students who do not pass the exit exam during their high school career can continue to receive education services from the district for up to two years at the Long Beach School for Adults or the Educational Partnership High School, where they can continue to study and take the test, Gulek said.
The ABC Unified School District has been focused on having non- passing students take extra classes or come for after-school tutoring, said ABC Deputy Superintendent Mary Sieu.
The Bellflower district has added test preparation classes during the regular school day for students who did not pass the test in tenth grade, said Superintendent Rick Kemppainen. Such classes continue through the senior year if the student has not passed, he said.
"We need to improve," he said. "We need to be at
100 percent, so that's what we are working on right now. We hope to increase that number significantly with the July results, which we should be getting by the end of the month."
The Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District has developed a literacy initiative to help boost its passage rate, said Victoria Schumacher, director of assessment and evaluation.
"We are working hard to have all our students pass" the test, she said. "We have intervention classes at all of our high schools in both English-language arts and math."
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