These are the students who are suffering from sort of problem; it may be a cognitive disorder, a memory problem, a writing problem, or some sort of physical problem that does not allow him to cope with the burden of the educational system without special help and instruction, or anything else. The proponents of the exit exams also state that unless students are held to certain high standards, it would be impossible to identify or address the various inherent flaws and weaknesses in the entire system of examinations. Another advantage of the exit exam system, according to them, is that there will be an increase in the motivation levels for both students and teachers to do better and excel at the exam to the best of their abilities.
This, again, is valid only for those students who are in the normal stream of education, and not for those students who are I the special education group. However, the proponents of the exit exams refute this issue, as they offer the view that these exams would provide the school with the tolls and equipment needed to identify and help those students who are struggling with the curriculum of the exam, and this would help the teachers offer special attention to these students. A major advantage, according to the supporters of the exit exams, is that there will be a consistency and a uniform standard in what students are learning all across the state, and this would help formulate a uniform educational system for each and every student in schools everywhere. This sort of standardized education would also serve to provide the student with the framework and the foundation for a better future, and also prepare them for the next set of exams that they would be required to take; that is, the post-secondary exams.
When the standards of education are raised to a certain level, then the achievement levels of the students would increase proportionately, and this would inevitable mean that the public would be suitably impressed with the performance foot he students, and this in turn, would enable the raising of funds for the educational system of the state a much easier and more productive task. The various critics of the system of making the students take exit exams in order to obtain their high school diplomas is not necessary, as in the case of failure, the student would be disheartened for life. It is also not correct, they state, to judge a student based on a single performance in a particular exam, for his entire lifetime, and the examination in itself is a totally imperfect measure of the intelligence or capabilities of the student. In addition, the problem of the costs incurred during the process of taking the exit exams, they opine, far outweighs that of the benefits that the student may gain from the writing of such an exam.
The fact is that the exit exam involves the investment of a large amount of instructional time as well as of monetary resources, and this is not a very good system. The writing of the exit exam also does not provide the concerned persons any type of insight into the capabilities or competencies or aptitudes of the student; all it does is require the student to write a standardized test that in no way reveals the student's other talented and skilled side. Another disadvantage of the exit exam system, according to critics, is that the teachers of the students tend to maintain as the main focus the teaching of the test content of the exam while other extra-curricular activities and enriching activities are put on the back bench. The teachers therefore ignore creativity and originality and all other skills since they concentrate on the scoring of their students in the exit exams.
Sometimes, the tests are on certain subjects that the students have not been taught during the course for their instruction, and this is grossly unfair to the student since he has not learnt that particular subject. The special education student or the student who is either a low achiever or a disabled person or a person suffering from any sort of physical or mental disadvantage suffers the most, because of the fact that they will feel that they are not able to cope with the syllabus, and this leads to them dropping out of school. This is something that must be avoided at all costs, since the student must be able to finish his schooling in the proper and appropriate manner as directed by the authorities. The poor, the disabled, the students who are not fluent in the English language and the minorities are the persons who are affected the most. Yet another disadvantage is that those students who have passed the exams successfully tend to lose interest in further studies, being the over-achievers that they are, and this leads them to fare badly in their other studies. (The California Exit Exam)
What is the purpose of the California exit exam? The primary purpose of the High School Exit Exam or the HSEE is that of improving the achievement of the student at the high school level. After the success in this exam, the student who graduates from the high school will be able to demonstrate his abilities in the requirements and standards of the State Board of Education in reading and writing and skills in mathematics. The reason why the exam is meant for the students of the tenth grade and, in some cases, for those ninth graders who are capable of writing the exam, is that in general, a student is expected to have offered to him plenty of opportunities to enable him to meet the requirements of the exit exam designed by the State Board of Education, and also to avail of the specific instruction that is necessary to enable him to cope with his studies for the exam.
If the student were unsuccessful in the exam due to any reason, then he would be able to write the exam again whenever he wants to after preparing himself adequately, and when the student is still in the tenth grade, this would be easier for him. The special education students will have to take the exam if they want to acquire their high school diplomas, with the special modifications and alterations wherever the authorities think necessary. The parents may apply for these provisions well in advance of the exam, since the notice for the exam will be sent to the parents and the guardians much before the exam is to be held. This notice will state the following details: the date of the examination, the specific requirements needed to pass the exam, the consequences of not passing the exam, and the need for passing the exam if the student is to graduate from high school. (High school exit examination)
Those students who are a part of the special education programs of the state have registered their various protests against the exit exam system. This is what some of the special education students in the San Mateo High School have to say in a letter that was addressed to the Governor: they feel that they would definitely fail in such an exam, since the exam in itself is meant for those students who were in the normal group. They stated that they felt that they were in fact scoring good grades in school, but they would not pass this 'unfair test', especially if they were not given appropriate modifications and accommodations. They also felt that they had no hope for the future if this system were to be implemented. This is a pathetic situation, as these students are in fact at an unfair disadvantage over their better counterparts, and this system of testing placed them against these over-achieving students. These students must not have to take the exit exam, since there is no advantage in it for them at all.
The Governor, states the special education teacher of the school, Linda Farrell, did not bother to reply to this specific question; he rather sent quite a few forms about the tests. By the end of the school year of 2004, all the students who are at present in the tenth grade would be required to pass this exit exam if they wanted to earn a diploma. The state, however, is considering the postponement of the exam since most students are not adequately prepared in the subjects for the exam. A special kind of irony in the situation with special education students is that this is the year in which the IDEA or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is to be passed, while on the other hand, the exit exam seems to be creating a major disadvantage for these unfortunate students who are already coping with their own personal and individual difficulties. The IDEA mandates that a 'free and appropriate public education'…