Jerry Brown
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office asked that SB172 provide an Exit Exam exemption for all students, regardless of when their class graduated. Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press
(Photo: Rich Pedroncelli, Associated Press)

By Melody Gutierrez
Updated: September 4, 2015 – 8:38pm

SACRAMENTO — Thousands of students who failed the California High School Exit Exam since its 2006 debut would be eligible to receive their diplomas — if they meet all other graduation requirements — under last-minute changes Gov. Jerry Brown requested to a bill the state Legislature is considering.

On Friday, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, said Brown’s office asked that SB172 provide an Exit Exam exemption for all students, regardless of when their class graduated. SB172 seeks to suspend the test over the next three years so that the state can consider updating it to reflect the Common Core standards now being taught.

The governor’s request came after he signed a different bill last month to retroactively award diplomas only to students from the class of 2015 who had met all other graduation requirements but had not passed the written test, which was canceled in July by the state over concerns that it was outdated.

If approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor, SB172 essentially would make the Exit Exam irrelevant during the decade it was required.

Brown’s office declined to comment Friday on whether the request signals support for the legislation.

But students who have tried for years to pass the test found hope in the revised bill.

Arlene Holmes of Vallejo said she is crossing her fingers. The 21-year-old estimates she has taken the math portion of the Exit Exam 20 times since her sophomore year of high school in an attempt to pass it. Holmes said she passed the English portion of the test on her first try.

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