California seniors are required to pass the California High School Exit Exam to receive a high school diploma. Students first have a chance to pass the two-part test during the sophomore year. The exam represents the student’s understanding of eighth-grade math and 10th-grade English. Not passing one or both portions of the test means a student will need to take part in an class or get help after school until passing that part of the test.
Last year in San Mateo County, 84 percent of sophomores tested in math — 5,554 students out of 6,586 students — and 83 percent of sophomores tested in English — 5,527 students out of 6,658 students — passed the test on the first attempt, according to results released by the California Department of Education Thursday. These numbers show only a slight change from sophomores who were tested in the 2005-2006 school year with an 83 percent passage rate on both exams.
Despite the stagnant numbers, more sophomores in San Mateo County pass one portion of the test at first attempt than others in California. Last year 76 percent of sophomores tested in math and 77 percent of those tested in English were successful.