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While state school officials continuously lament reductions in state education financing, they also continue to report fractional gains in academic achievement, with the latest being an upbeat report on high school exit examination passage rates.

State schools Supt. Tom Torlakson said Wednesday that nearly 95 percent of those in this year's senior class passed the test and passage rates among African American and Latino students increased.

"It is heartening to see that our students continue to learn and achieve despite the painful toll that budget cuts are taking on our schools," Torlakson said. "The results of this year's exit examination--and the progress schools are making to close the achievement gap--are yet another sign of the remarkable commitment that teachers, school employees, and administrators have to the students of California."

The results, are broken down by county, district and school as well as demographic subgroup.

Torlakson said they show increasing passing rates among most demographic subgroups with approximately 94.6 percent or 422,558 students in the Class of 2011 successfully passed both the English-language arts and the mathematics portions of the exit exam by the end of their senior year. The passage rate in 2010 was a tenth of a percentage point lower, 94.5 percent.

The exit exam completion rate among black students increased from 89.6 percent in 2010 to 90.9 percent this year while that of Latinos increased from 91.4 percent to 92.3 percent. That of Asian American students also increased from 97.4 percent to 97.7 percent while among white students, it increased from 98.1 percent to 98.4 percent.

Another trend in the latest report is that more students are taking and passing the test in the 10th grade, the first time it is administered. More than 82 percent of this year's sophomores have already passed the English and mathematics portions of the test.



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