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Legislators Will Introduce Bill To Help Students Caught In Limbo After Exit Exam Cancelled

Teens head out after class at a San Diego County high school.
Ana Tintocalis
Teens head out after class at a San Diego County high school.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, and other legislative leaders said Friday they plan to introduce a bill aimed at helping students caught in limbo after the state canceled the high school exit exam.

Around 5,000 students are unable to retake the test, many of whom will now be unable to enter college in time for the rapidly approaching fall semester.

The San Diego Unified School District estimated that around 30-40 of its students are affected.

"The Legislature is well aware of the problem facing many California students who are unable to attend college or are unable to work or join the military because they were not able to retake the high school exit exam," Atkins said in a joint statement with Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon.

"We intend to solve this issue as quickly as possible by proposing urgency legislation for these displaced students," Atkins and de Leon said. "These students are stuck in a bureaucratic limbo through no fault of their own and we are committed to helping them move forward."

State education officials canceled the final exit exam, which was scheduled last month, because the Legislature is considering a bill to suspend the test as a graduation requirement for at least three years. That decision left students who had been accepted to college, but hadn't passed the exam, in limbo.

On Thursday, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson called on the University of California, California State University and Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities to help those caught up in the snag.

The test is considered to be breeze for most students, many of whom pass it before the end of their junior year. However, it can be difficult for immigrant students without a command of the English language.