New Exit Exam Gets Its First Test Here

Approximately 1,000 freshmen in the Long Beach Unified School district completed the new California high school exit exam. Administered in two parts on March 7 and 13, the new hurdle for the Class of 2004 attracted about 15 percent of that class. Participation was voluntary this year but will be required in future years. Results of the language test administered last week and the math test given this week may not be known for months. The statewide cutoff scores for passing the test cannot be set until next year when all high school sophomores must take the test. Larger numbers must be tested to determine a valid passing level. The exam questions are based on California's kindergarten through 12th grade academic standards, which were adopted in the late 1990s. In the English skills section of the exam, students answered 100 multiple choice questions and wrote two essays. Essay topics varied from a persuasive argument to an analysis. The math part has 99 questions relating to computation, measurement and geometry, mathematical reasoning, probability and statistics and basic algebra.