Fewer sophomores in the Los Angles Unified School District passed the exit exam needed to earn a high school diploma compared to their peers throughout the state, according to California Department of Education data released on Wednesday.
About 77 percent of all 10th grade LAUSD students who took the California High School Exit Exam in the 2011-2012 academic year passed the test, compared to about 84 percent statewide.
Since 2006, California schools have conducted the test to ensure that students have solid skills in reading, writing and math. The exam is first administered in 10th grade, and subsequently in grades 11 and 12 if students do not pass the first time. They can take the test up to nine times.
For the class of 2012, about 95 percent of students throughout the state passed the test by graduation time. Statistics for the 2012 LAUSD graduating class are not yet available, and all statewide results are still preliminary.
"While I'm happy about the progress made by the class of 2012, I still have concerns for the class of 2013, the class of 2014, and all the classes that will follow," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a statement. "We have made solid improvement, but schools and districts are facing some unprecedented challenges right now."
"Overcrowded classrooms, shorter school years, and fewer teachers are in store for us unless we stop the cuts to education funding and begin restoring some of what has been cut in recent years," Torlakson added.
Among English as a Second Language students, the results for 10th grade LAUSD students were about 10 percent lower compared to statewide results – a 44 percent passing rate in math and 32 percent in English, compared to 56 and 44 percent statewide results, respectively.
However, LAUSD did see a greater improvement in test scores in the last six years compared to the state – a 13 percent passing rate increase versus an 8 percent. Much of the district’s jump can be attributed to the significant bump in Latino students passing the exam, from about 60 percent in 2006 to 75 percent in 2012.
This year’s overall statewide passing rate of 95 percent does not include students with disabilities – which make up about 10 percent of the student body – as they are not required to take the test.