State lawmakers looking at 'exit exams' for high school grads

Thursday, October 9th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to put high school seniors to the test. He's leading the call at the state capitol Thursday to bring a high school exit exam to Oklahoma.

News on 6 anchor Terry Hood says it’s the latest attempt to measure how well Oklahoma students are doing, this time high school seniors are the target. Some lawmakers think passing classes isn't enough, they want seniors to pass a state exam to get their diploma.

24 states either have an exit exam or are implementing one, now it may be Oklahoma’s turn. Some lawmakers are concerned Oklahoma schools are graduating kids who don't know the basics.

State Representative Lance Cargill says nearly one third of all Oklahoma freshman are forced to take remedial classes in college. Cargill says an exit exam would make public schools a little more rigorous.

You'd expect a class full of advanced Spanish students to balk at the idea of taking yet another test. But several seniors were in favor of the idea. Edison High School senior Kelli Mushrush, "I think its probably a good idea. You still didn't learn what you're supposed to."

Keith Gayler. Assistant Director of the Center of Education Policy, "by making education more important to students by saying they can't get a diploma without it maybe they would provide some extra motivation."

The tests have come under fire in other states, for ballooning costs, higher dropout rates, and disproportionately low pass rates for poor and minority students.