Burbank’s seniors in the classes of 2004 and 2005 have been given a
The state Board of Education voted unanimously Wednesday to delay
until 2006 the requirement that seniors throughout the state pass the
California High School Exit Exam to be eligible for graduation.
“Under California law, the state board cannot delay this
examination again and, therefore, it will certainly apply to the
class of 2006,” state board President Reed Hastings said following
the vote Wednesday afternoon.
The board voted for the two-year delay to give school districts
throughout the state more time to teach to standards-based
instruction. An independent evaluation by a Virginia company found
that the graduating classes of 2004 and 2005 have not had enough time
to learn the basics.
Students who already have passed the exam will be given a
certificate of accomplishment from the state, California Education
Secretary Kerry Mazzoni said.
Caroline Brumm, Burbank Unified School District’s coordinator of
student and program evaluation, said she was certain the board would
postpone the requirement because many districts statewide are not up
to date with standards-aligned instruction and material. She noted
that BUSD had aligned everything to the standards.
Students who have taken the test have performed well, Brumm said.
Districtwide, 85% of students passed the English portion of the test
and 67% passed the math. The percentages include special education
and English as second language students, as well as students at
Monterey, the continuation high school.
Graham Matthews, whose daughters Krystal and Melanie attend
Burbank High School, said he was disappointed the exit exam has been
put on hold.
“It’s a shame that they would put something like that on the books
and take it off,” Matthews said. “We need to gauge how well students
His daughters passed the exam, and Matthews said any student who
cannot pass it must be lagging far behind.
Supt. Gregory Bowman could not be reached for comment.
The California High School Exit Exam, originally a three-day math
and English test, became law in 1999, and was administered for the
first time in the 2001-02 school year. Students who could not pass
the test would have been given a certificate of completion in lieu of
a diploma, meaning that they attended all classes but did not meet
all the requirements for graduation.
In separate action later Wednesday, the state board voted to
reduce the exit exam from three days to two by requiring only one
essay instead of two on the English portion of the test.
The exam was created by a statewide panel of educators, parents
and the general public, appointed by the state board. Glendale
Unified School District Supt. Jim Brown was a member of the original
“I think the exam was the right thing to do for California public
education,” he said Wednesday. “It injected an important degree of
accountability for students to achieve a higher level than had been
expected in the past.”
However, Brown does not believe that five years has been enough
time to prepare students. Setting the requirement for 2004 was more
of a political decision than an educational decision, he said.
“If there was enough time provided, beginning in elementary and
middle school, many more students [statewide] would be successful,”