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LAUSD high school exit exam scores up, racial gap narrowing

August 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Encouraging test results for students in the Los Angeles Unified School District: A larger number of 10th-graders passed the mathematics and English sections of the exit exam this year. The racial gap in the test results is also narrowing. Students are making strides despite the obstacles brought on by budget cuts.

"You and I and everybody in this room today have so much to be proud of," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.

Even before the state released the results of the California high school exit exams, Deasy was congratulating the district.

"We graduated more youth than we have ever done in our past and each one is a gift to our community, and that gift was only made possible by your hard work," said Deasy.

According to the California Department of Education, LAUSD did improve: more 10th-grade students than ever before are passing the state high school exit exam since the test debuted.

In 2010-2011, 75 percent of 10th-grade students in the district passed the English language arts portion of the test and 75 percent passed the mathematics portion on their first try.

"That is the first time that both subjects achieved the same percentage rate for first-time takers. That is just remarkable," said Deasy.

The scores were an improvement over last year's 10th-grade class, which had a 72-percent pass rate for the math section of the test, and 73 percent on the English section.

But LAUSD is still lagging behind the state average of 82.7 percent for math, 82.4 percent for English.

LAUSD'S high school graduation rate is still only 56 percent, leaving much room for improvement.

But at John H. Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, where the exit exam score for first-time takers for both math and English is 86 percent -- higher than the state average -- Principal Gerardo Loera says he's proud of his school and the progress all of LAUSD has made despite dealing with severe budget cuts.

"I feel great about it," said Loera. "The students are learning what it takes to be successful on their first try. It's very important in these economic times when we have less resources now to provide the extra opportunities, the extra interventions, so we're trying to get it right the first time and the kids are actually doing it."

"I just think that it's good that we're getting more recognition for the things we've accomplished," said student Cynthia Mendez.

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