More teens in San Diego County passed the high school exit exam this year than last, echoing a statewide trend of improving results on the high stakes tests.

The California exam is a big deal for teens: If high schoolers don’t pass the exit exam, they don’t get a regular diploma. This year, 85 percent of San Diego County high school sophomores who took the exam passed the math section and 83 percent passed the English section, a slight bump over results last year.

Passing rates vary dramatically at different school districts and charter schools: Nearly all High Tech High students passed the English test and 96 percent passed the math section, for instance, while only about a quarter of students passed each test at MAAC Community Charter School in Chula Vista.

While racial gaps have persisted on the exit exam results, they are narrowing at both the state and local level.

San Diego Unified, for instance, has seen bigger gains for black and Hispanic students on the tests than for white students, which has led to a smaller gap between the groups, though test results for English learners and students with disabilities have stayed fairly flat in English and bobbled in math.

You can check out all the results at the California Department of Education website here. Spot something? Please shoot me an e-mail at


Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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