Exit Exam Scores: Truckee-Tahoe high schools score below county but above state | SierraSun.com

Exit Exam Scores: Truckee-Tahoe high schools score below county but above state

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunBerenice Martinez, a junior at Truckee High School, takes a practice test with other 11th and 12th graders for the Exit Exam in Ms. Retallack's class on Wednesday.

Sophomores in Tahoe-Truckee area high schools scored above the state average in the latest exit exams, but lagged behind their counterparts in the rest of Nevada and Placer counties, according to preliminary results.

The Tahoe-Truckee students also performed slightly below their averages of the previous year.

Exit exams are administered to California students in the 10th through 12th grades to ensure they are ready to enter the workforce or go on to higher education, according to spokesperson Pam Slater of the California Department of Education.

All students in the state must now pass the test before receiving their diploma, Slater said.

“Starting with the class of 2006 it is mandatory,” she said.

The exit exam measures skills in math and in English. California’s test qualifies as the standardized exam mandated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

In the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, 83 percent of the 340 sophomores at North Tahoe and Truckee who took the test passed the math portion, while 84 percent passed the English portion.

The scores trailed those of students in the rest of Placer and Nevada counties. In all of Placer County, 88 percent of sophomores passed the math portion and 89 percent passed the English. In Nevada County 90 percent of students passed both portions.

More Truckee-area students made a passing grade than students at North Tahoe High School. Among sophomores at North Tahoe High School, 74 percent passed the math exam and 80 percent the English exam, while 87 percent of their Truckee peers passed the math test and 86 percent the English.

Although the results, posted on the California Department of Education’s Web site, reflect scores of today’s sophomores (the class of 2009), the results also can reveal how a community prepares children for the test.

“Kids are pulled out and given more help” as soon as they get low test scores, Slater said.

She added that more California students are passing the statewide exam than when it was administered for the first time several years ago.

According to the Community Collaborative of Tahoe Truckee, the authors of the 2007 community report card, the school district has worked hard to help local students.

“[The Tahoe-Truckee district] has implemented intervention strategies to continue to improve academic performance including: Staff development focused on English-language development, staff collaboration time, increased counseling for students and their parents, and individualized learning plans for all students with below-basic test scores,” according to the report.

The specific challenge facing Tahoe Truckee Unified is bringing non-English-speaking up to speed on testing. The English-as-second-language students remain below the state level.

The students in this subgroup are still failing standardized tests that include the California High School Exit Exam, but have gained some ground. According to the Community Report Card, the nonnative speakers improved scores by 3 percent while native English speakers increased by 2 percent.

Tahoe Truckee Unified is required to measure its students’ Academic Performance Index, a measure of performance based on the Standardized Testing And Reporting (or STAR) program and the exit exam.

Students are given the opportunity to take the exit exam once as sophomores, and twice each year as a junior and senior, according to Slater.

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