Reading "State Exit Exam Gets Poor Grades" (March 4) gave me chills of remembrance. I graduated from Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., in 1995, with above a 4.0 grade average, and I had a terrible score on the SATs. I went on to college (based on my academic performance, not some arbitrary test score) and graduated in 1999 with honors (cum laude). I know what these high schoolers are going through when they feel that all of their hard work is for naught if they cannot pass the exit exam.
These exams do not test the skills of high schoolers; these are endurance tests. Many of these students proved their merit and intelligence during their years of school. It is ridiculous to suggest that these students are "definitely at risk for not having those skills" to survive in the economy of the future if they cannot pass the exit exams. This test does not prepare students for life; it proves to them that even though they put their heart and soul into something, they will not succeed. What kind of a message does that send?
Fifty-two percent of the students enrolled in the Class of 2004 are unable to pass both sections of the California High School Exit Exam. I looked at the sample questions you published. This old geezer, who has not seen the inside of a schoolhouse in more than 50 years, had no problems with them. That's the kind of stuff we did in the fourth and fifth grade, without computers and calculators. But then, I did not go to school in California. Students who cannot pass such a simple exit exam do not deserve a diploma.
Jim De Vries
I tried to do the test example questions in the article. Question No. 1 did not contain enough information to be solved. I wondered how many pages Stephanie read prior to her seven-day reading period. Since this exit exam is so important to the state of California, I believe every question should be written correctly and not be confusing to the test taker.
La Habra Heights