A Call to End California High School Exit Exams

A Call to End California High School Exit Exams


Sacramento, CA

For decades the California High School exit exam has been a source of consternation, frustration, conflict and litigation—now, the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson, has called for an end to the examination. 

Since the test’s initial implementation in 1999, the exam has remained under constant scrutiny and experienced modifications in response to court rulings. Finally, beginning with the class of 2015-16, the requirement that seniors pass the exit exam as a condition of graduation was temporarily suspended. The temporary suspension is set to expire after the 2017-18 school year. 

Last week, in a memo to the California Board of Education, Torlakson expressed his belief the exam had outlived its usefulness. 

“Because of the comprehensive resources now available to identify students in academic need at lower grades, it is no longer necessary for the CAHSEE (high school exit exam) to continue beyond 2018.” 

Before Torlakson’s recommendation can take effect, it requires action by the state legislature as well as approval by the governor.

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