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Local districts see small progress on high school exit exam

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Posted: Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:00 pm

Ninety-three percent of California high school seniors passed the California High School Exit Exam last year, according to State Superintendent Jack O'Connell, who released results Thursday. The results reflect a 2.1 percent increase over the previous year's scores.

Locally, both Lodi Unified School District and Galt Joint Union High School District boasted small increases in the percentage of students who passed the test during their sophomore year - the first opportunity students have to take the test.

The exam, which can be taken up to seven times before the end of a student's senior year, evaluates minimum proficiency skills in both math and English-language arts. Students must pass the test in order to graduate from high school.

The percentage of students in Lodi Unified who passed the math portion of the exam during their first year of eligibility rose from 78 to 79 percent. The percentage of students who passed the English-language arts portion of the test stayed steady at 75 percent.

The passage rate exceeded the county in almost every way, said Ed Eldridge, coordinator for assessment and evaluation at Lodi Unified.

Students at Middle College High School had the highest rate of passing sophomores. All 44 students who took the test during their 10th-grade year passed.

Lodi High School students came in second in the district. Ninety percent of Lodi High 10th-graders passed the math portion of the exam, while 80 percent of the school's sophomores passed the English-language arts portion.

Eldridge said the number of sophomores who pass the test is usually the best indicator of how prepared the students are academically, because, ideally, students should pass the test on their first try.

Percentage of sophomores who passed the California High School Exit Exam by state, county, district and school:
Math: 76
English-language arts: 77

San Joaquin County
Math: 73
English-language arts: 73

Lodi Unified
Math: 79
English-language arts: 75

Bear Creek
Math: 72
English-language arts: 70

Math: 48
English-language arts: 68

Math: 90
English-language arts: 80

Math: 78
English-language arts: 73

Middle College
Math: 100
English-language arts: 100

Math: 82
English-language arts: 75

Galt High School District
Math: 83
English-language arts: 81

Math: 84
English-language arts: 82

Math: 48
English-language arts: 58
Source: California Department of Education.

By their junior and senior years students should have already had the opportunity to pass the test several times.

Jay Wallis, a Lodi High math teacher, linked the school's scores to the group of dedicated teachers he works with.

"It feels really incredible," Wallis said of his students' results.

Wallis said that students who don't pass the exam take special intervention classes and can attend after school tutoring to improve their performance.

Eighty-six percent of white sophomores in Lodi Unified passed the English-language arts part of the exam, compared to 67 percent of Latinos and 58 percent of African-Americans.

The percentages reflect the statewide gap between white students and students of ethnic minorities, a topic O'Connell said he continues to be troubled by.

Galt High School District numbers also rose in math, but not English-language arts. Eighty-three percent of Galt High School District's 10th-graders passed the exam, a 2 percentage point increase over last year. Results for the math portion remained static at 81 percent.

Galt High School showed the highest percentage of students passing during their 10th grade year. Eighty-three percent passed the math portion, and 82 percent passed the English-language arts portion during their 10th-grade year.

Eighty-nine percent of white sophomores in Galt High School District passed the English-language arts part of the exam, compared to 70 percent of Latinos.

Tom Gemma, superintendent of Galt High School District, said he was very proud of his district's performance.

While he would like every student to pass the exam during their sophomore year, Gemma said his next goal is to get 90 percent of his students to pass.

"I know it can be done," Gemma said.

Contact reporter Amanda Dyer at amandad@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 5:01 am on Sat, Aug 25, 2007.


    Kudos to the district's leadership and teachers....not where we want to be, but not where we used to be either!!

  • posted at 10:46 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2007.


    So now we know that our 17 and 18 year old twelfth graders can actually pass an exam designed for the Eighth grade. If 8th grqders can pass the test, why do they need to spend four more yeatrs in school? Why don't you call the exam - waht it really is? The middle school promotion exam. What are you really telling us? JUST SAY IT. Why do we have to hear year after year of lame excuses? A 12th grade test should be given to 12th graders. Tell us your reasons.

  • posted at 10:03 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2007.


    according to those blogs all ready posted it appears the Lodi Unified School District is damned if the do nd damed if they don't. Remember this testing is not the idea of the school district. It was put into place by a demoract controlled legislature.

  • posted at 8:24 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2007.


    Could it be that the math scores are high since it is based on 8th grade math. LA is sophmore curriculum.

  • posted at 4:32 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2007.


    Wow! We surpassed the County-wide average. Is this how success is measured, against the historically low county test scores? Sounds like bonus check time down at the Taj Mahal.

  • posted at 4:29 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2007.


    And exactly why do we hear thru the town grapevine that Tokay is a better school? Maybe that was before the mold was found, because now both facilities are trashed, out of date, and disgusting.

  • posted at 4:27 am on Fri, Aug 24, 2007.


    How about next year you lower the passing percentage in order to report even better scores, because it's all about the test scores, not how much the students have learned, or are prepared for the next level of education.



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