Exit Exams

Exit exams are tests taken in high school grades that determine a student’s eligibility to graduate from high school. Due to their high-stakes nature, a large body of evidence suggests that exit exams heighten dropout rates, especially for populations already at high-risk of dropping out, and research has not found any positive effect on academic outcomes when states adopt exit exams. With the advent of new college and career readiness standards that may take years to fully implement, states have adopted varied approaches to navigating the use of exit exams. Some have discontinued the high-stakes tests, others have given “amnesty” to students during the first few years of new standards, while others have developed multi-year plans to phase in new exams aligned to the new standards.