Dropouts skyrocketed statewide in 2006 after California instituted an exit exam for high school students, the Associated Press reported this week. In 2006, 24,000 high school seniors dropped out, about 10,000 more than just four years earlier, according to a report prepared by a Virginia-based research group.

Opponents of the exit exam are pointing to the data, arguing that the test has pushed kids out of schools and has disproportionately impacted low-income and minority students. Their alternative: Judging kids on a portfolio of high school work, not just the exam. That’s how schools in Massachusetts and Washington state do it, the article explains.

Has it played out the same way in San Diego? Data-crunchers at San Diego Unified School District are still gathering dropout data for the past few years, district spokeswoman Ursula Kroemer said.

EMILY ALPERT

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