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The Daily Tar Heel

Caution Needed With N.C. High School Exit Exam

It is an indication that the board is proceeding carefully and reasonably before implementing a high stakes test as a requirement for graduation.

The board has taken this action following the recommendations of numerous technical, educator and parent advisory committees.

With any new test, it's important to collect ample data through research and field-testing. This data will be used to ensure that the questions asked on the exam, and the passing score set, are fair and reasonable.

The delay also provides additional time for teachers and students to become more familiar with the material that will be covered on the exam and the design of the exam.

These steps are essential to assuring fairness to students as expectations for their performance increase.

The exit exam measures how well students communicate through reading and writing, process and use information from a variety of sources, solve problems and use numbers and data.

Unlike the high school end-of-course tests that students already take, the exit exam incorporates content that extends across many grades (seven through 11) and courses.

The exam requires students to think in a broad manner by applying the major concepts they have learned, rather than recall specific facts or content.

Under the board's revised plan, juniors will field-test items to be included on the exit exam this spring and again in 2002.

In the spring of 2003, high school juniors will essentially give the exam a test run, with testing and grading occurring as if the exam were to be counted.

In the spring of 2004, juniors will be required to pass the test before graduating from high school in 2005. If a student does not pass the exam the first time, retest opportunities are provided.

Some parents, employers and community members have questioned the rigor of an N.C. public school diploma.

Passing the exit exam provides another way for students to demonstrate that graduating from an N.C. public school is indeed a meaningful accomplishment and that they have the skills to function independently and successfully in assuming responsibilities related to the work force, citizenship and lifelong education.

An additional two years to ensure that this happens is time well spent.

For students, parents, educators and others interested in learning more about the N.C. High School Exit Exam, the Department of Public Instruction has made available on its Web site "The North Carolina Exit Exam Handbook."

The handbook provides background information on the exit exam and offers some sample questions for students to familiarize themselves with the content and test format.

Following is a sample question from the handbook:

Communications Sample Test Question - "Letter to Graphics Design Department"

This is a letter Jenna Scott wrote to a local community college.

Jenna Scott is a junior at Madison High School, and she is very interested in graphic design. She wants to find out about training programs where she can increase her skills.

Examine the letter below. Then answer the questions that follow.

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Ms. Lara Hughes, Admissions Office

Aldrin Community College

1800 Commons Boulevard

Raleigh, North Carolina 27601

January 8

Dear Ms. Hughes:

(1) I know that your schools graphic design department has an excellent reputation. (2) I am very interested in the field of desktop publishing, and I would like to learn more about your course offerings. (3) I am interested in getting information about your college's internship opportunities, work/study programs, and financial aid packages.

(4) During the last two years of high school, I have taken many art classes and computer classes. (5) My parttime job at the Ready Print Shop has given me a chance to see how many of the workers are able to combine their interests in art with computer technology.

(6) After I graduate, I would like to pursue my career goals at your school. (7) Already, I have learned some practical graphic design and computer skills in high school. (8) I know keyboarding techniques as well as the basics about creating documents, retrieving information, editing materials, etc. (9) With my art background, I can readily understand layout and design principles.

(10) My goal is to complete your short-term certificate program and start work as a graphics designer as soon as I get my certificate. (11) I would also like to apply for work/study programs. (12) Or internships through your office. (13) A work/study situation would be ideally because I could get job experience and go to school at the same time.

(14) Last week, I talked to Mr. Romero, our school's college counselor, about my goals. (15) He said, "You should ask Ms. Hughes about the school's programs and financial aid because the college has many opportunities available." (16) So, I am following Mr. Romero's advise and asking you to send me important information and/or application forms as soon as possible. (17) Thank you very much for your help; I look forward to recieving the materials.


Jenna Scott

1. Which correction should be made to sentence 1?

A. Change your to yours.

B. Change schools to school's.

C. Change has to have.

D. Change excellent to excellence.

2. Which correction should be made to sentence 5?

A. Change parttime to part-time.

B. Change Ready Print Shop to ready print shop.

C. Change given to gave.

D. Change combine to combines.

3. Which of the following is a fragment?

A. During the last two years of high school, I have taken many art classes and computer classes.

B. With my art background, I can readily understand layout and design principles.

C. Or internships through your office.

D. Last week, I talked to Mr. Romero, our school's college counselor, about my goals.

4. Which correction should be made to sentence 13?

A. Change ideally to ideal.

B. Insert a semi-colon after experience.

C. Change go to going.

D. Insert a comma after school.

5. Which correction should be made to sentence 16?

A. Change Romero's to Romeros'.

B. Change advise to advice.

C. Change asking to asked.

D. Change forms to form's.

6. Which correction should be made to sentence 17?

A. Insert a comma after much.

B. Change your to you're.

C. Insert a comma after forward.

D. Change recieving to receiving.


1. B 2. A 3. C 4. A 5. B 6. D

Michael E. Ward is the state superintendent of education.

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