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leahutinet
10-26-2018, 12:20 PM
I live in France and here, you have to take the "baccalauréat" at the end of your senior year to graduate and go to college. You basically take one or two tests per day for each subject (maths, history, languages, philosophy, etc) and your results give you points. You need to have a certain number of points to pass your exams. But how is it in the US? Also, is there such a thing as make-up tests? In France, you can get a few more points with make-up tests, if you only need a few more to reach the minimum required to pass.
It's a modern setting, by the way.
Also, how long do you have to wait for the results?

Maggie Maxwell
10-26-2018, 04:32 PM
It kinda depends on the state. In Florida, there was an exam you had to pass sometime starting in 10th grade (2nd year/sophomore) onwards to graduate. In 11th grade (3rd year/junior) you can start taking the ACT or SAT for college admissions. All of them you can retake at scheduled times, but at least when I did it all over a decade ago, there weren't make-up tests for extra points. It's one and done, but you can take it again if you didn't pass (for the state test) or if you want a higher score (SAT/ACT). The SAT/ACT isn't required though, it's just for colleges.

ap123
10-26-2018, 06:17 PM
It kinda depends on the state.

In NY there isn't a specific, statewide exit exam, but kids in public schools have to take and pass a certain amount of Regents Exams (subject tests) throughout their high school career in order to get their diplomas--results are usually back within a few weeks or so, sometimes faster.

Some schools do offer an IB degree (same as what you've got in France, I believe), but I don't think that's ever school wide, but instead something offered in certain schools to certain (strong) students.

Do you know yet what state you're setting your story in?

cornflake
10-26-2018, 06:31 PM
Regents are all of NY, just some private schools don't care I guess? Some do, I'm here to tell you. You get a gold sticker on your diploma if you pass five Regents. Other states have similar things.

Also IB can be school-wide, depends on the school; some it's the program (like you can do the IB track or the kind of American-based AP track, some schools are IB schools, etc.)

Mpstly, as above, it's SAT/ACT for kids planning on college, but they're on your own schedule, you can take them as many times as you want, they're not done at school, etc.

starrystorm
10-26-2018, 06:45 PM
I don't remember much about tests, except that at the end of the year for each class you had to take an "end of course" exam (EOC). You had to have a certain amount of high school credits to graduate. Each class was one credit except college level classes which were IIRC 1.5. The ACT/SAT was for college and for scholarships, but I've heard a lot of colleges don't even look at the ACT/SAT anymore.


ETA: Not all classes had EOC's. Some like teacher's aid just gave you a credit if you had a passing grade. And the EOC was 1/7 of your grade, so even if you failed it, you could still pass.

rachelpaige98
10-26-2018, 10:07 PM
I'm from Michigan, and we don't have anything like this for Seniors. Juniors are required to take the SAT (used to be ACT) with their class, and we the M-STEP (Michigan Student Test of Education Progress).
You can take the SAT/ACT as many times as you want to try and do better and most people take it at least twice. The M-STEP is a one time thing, because it's to evaluate the school system, not the individual students, if that makes sense. You usually get the results back within a few weeks.

Senior year, as long as you had a high enough score in your class, you didn't even have to take the final exam. It was up to the individual teachers what that score was, but most of them said if you had at least a B, you didn't need the final exam for their class. That's mostly because Seniors' last day is a few weeks before everyone else (I think so grades can get finalized in time for graduation), so if you did need the final exam, it would have to be taken early.

Basically, it depends greatly on what state you're in.

Roxxsmom
10-26-2018, 11:20 PM
As others have said, requirements vary greatly by state here in the US. College-bound juniors (year before graduation) generally take the ACTs or SATs as part of their college admission packages, but those are private exams (administered via testing companies) and are optional as far as the state and school are concerned.

Some students re-take them their senior year, if they want to improve their scores, or try both ACTs and SATs and go with the one they did better on. These tests are expensive, so it's one way kids from wealthier families have a leg up when it comes to college admissions in the US (not to mention how expensive college itself is here). These tests have become critical to admissions at prestigious schools in a time when more and more seniors are graduating with better than 4.0 GPAs (or 100+ percent in states that go with percentages instead of letter grades).

There was Bush's "no child left behind" program, which implemented nationwide standardized tests, but most of those were completed prior to senior year. Different states are handling testing differently in the aftermath of that program. In California, they're big into about something called "common core" now, which was implemented by the Gates, I believe. That's an approach to instruction and testing system that is newer.

Whatever state-sponsored, standardized "proficiency" tests that are required for graduation are separate from college admissions exams here, however.

Standardized testing has been problematic in the US, because in many states teacher pay and promotions (and funding for districts and schools) are based on success rates, so there is a huge incentive to abandon or minimize all instruction that isn't drilling kids to pass the tests by rote.

Debbie V
10-27-2018, 01:09 AM
In the US it is very state dependent. Select the state you want to use and go to the website for the state education department. Mos of them have graduation requirements posted. I'm in NY and have a senior this year, so I can tell you a lot about that state. Requirements include having a certain number of credits where you passed the courses and a final or Regents. Not every class has a Regents exam at the end. For example, you need the equivalent of two years of gym but don't have a state test to pass there. Also, there are gradations for what counts as passing. To receive a local diploma you only need a 55 on the exams and can get as low as a 45 on one as long as another is above a 65. You must have a 55 or better on the English exam. There are two other diploma types in this state. Bureaucracy anyone?

Again, other states will vary and may be less complicated.

Some folks have mentioned the SATs and ACTs. There are now colleges that do not require either of these exams for admission. In the old days, you had to have a certain score to qualify for admission to a school (or pass the TOEFL). But this is no longer the case. Every school is different.

blacbird
10-27-2018, 08:04 AM
The U.S. simply does not have any national standards for such things, which may be difficult for a non-U.S. resident to comprehend. State and local practices vary widely. What does happen, a little later for those planning to enter college or university, is a standard entrance exam, of which there are two major flavors: SAT and ACT tests. There may be others as well.

caw

spork
10-28-2018, 03:50 PM
What does happen, a little later for those planning to enter college or university, is a standard entrance exam, of which there are two major flavors: SAT and ACT tests. There may be others as well.

There are also Advanced Placement (AP) exams that are optional for students in AP courses. AP exams can sometimes be exchanged for college equivalency depending on the college's standards and the student's score. In my high school, AP classes could also receive credit from the local community college in exchange for the tuition costs. However, since some larger schools don't accept transfer credit from community colleges in core areas, it's a bit of a gamble.

lonestarlibrarian
10-29-2018, 06:46 AM
In Texas, it's common to have four years of high school: 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade, which correspond to freshman/sophomore/junior/senior years.

In your freshman year, you're adjusting to high school.

In your sophomore year, you take your PSAT-- your Preliminary Scholastic (Aptitude)(Assessment) Test at least once or twice. The way it's graded changes depending on when you take it, but it's basically 800 points for reading/writing, and 800 points for math. (It generally gets redesigned every 10 years, so the 1995 SAT =/= the 2006 SAT =/= 2017 SAT, etc.) The PSAT score doesn't necessarily count, but it's good practice and gives you an idea of your strengths and weaknesses. The purpose of the PSAT is to get you ready for your college admissions tests coming up during your junior year-- it's separate from your actual high school academics, which is its own set of grades and tests, depending on what subjects you're studying. It's prudent to take it as often as you're able to, just for the practice before the real thing. Old tests from previous years are published in books, so studying those is another way to get good practice in.

In your junior year, you take your SAT. (Scholastic [Aptitude][Assessment] Test.) Your SAT score will play a big part in determining what scholarships are available to you, what universities are interested in you, etc. But other things also affect your appeal-- the extracurriculars you excel in, your community involvement, your leadership in your school and community, your high school grades, your class rank, etc.

When you hit your junior year, some high schools also give you the opportunity to pursue "dual credit" classes. Basically, you're taking college-level coursework while in high school that can also be applied to your undergraduate degree.

Your senior year is pretty much spent going through the motions of finishing up the last of your classes, sorting through advertisements and offer letters from universities that are interested in you, and making plans for your freshman year of undergrad, presuming that you're college-bound.

I homeschooled for my four years of high school-- so I ended up earning my GED (General Educational Development test) (a set of standardized tests that act as a high school diploma equivalent), because I didn't graduate from an accredited high school. So there may well be some extra high school stuff that I don't know about-- but I did take my PSAT (twice?) and my SAT once. I also was allowed to enroll in the local community college to take things like Inorganic and Organic Chemistry, so that I could transfer those hours to my undergrad degree, and save myself 8 hours' worth of hard science (at the expensive university rates). The caveat on transferring credits, though, is that it can't relate specifically to your major. So if I was a biology major, I couldn't transfer community college science classes; if I was a Spanish major, I couldn't transfer community college language classes, etc.

But in general, the most academically strenuous years of high school seemed to be the sophomore and junior years. The senior year was more of a time for going-through-the-motions and tidying-ends-up and finalizing-future-plans.

Don B
11-06-2018, 08:06 AM
As others have said, requirements vary greatly by state here in the US. College-bound juniors (year before graduation) generally take the ACTs or SATs as part of their college admission packages, but those are private exams (administered via testing companies) and are optional as far as the state and school are concerned.

Some students re-take them their senior year, if they want to improve their scores, or try both ACTs and SATs and go with the one they did better on. These tests are expensive, so it's one way kids from wealthier families have a leg up when it comes to college admissions in the US

Actually, in some states such as Michigan (where I live), every student takes the SAT for free and it is required. Also, other tests (such as AP, which grants college credit) are either free or less than $10 if a family is socioeconomically disadvantaged. I cannot say which states emulate this policy, but many supports are in place to eliminate economic hurdles through department of education initiatives and federal dollars.

But, as everyone has stated, the federal US government largely stays out of education. This is why each state has different policies and procedures, standards, graduation requirements, etc. In some states, even local schools gave a great deal of control.

morngnstar
11-06-2018, 03:57 PM
When I was in school (20 years ago, North Carolina), final exams were less emphasized than your experience. Yes, they existed, but might only account for 10-20% of your final grade. It would be possible to completely bomb the final exam and still pass the class. Also, they weren't standardized at all and were written by the individual teacher.

On the other hand, many students choose to take optional AP exams in various subjects like math, physics, and English, up to more elective subjects like art history and computer science. These aren't required for graduation, but might count for credit in college, although that's up to the individual college's discretion.

And of course there's the SAT or ACT, which also aren't required for graduation but are required for admission to most colleges.

angeliz2k
11-09-2018, 10:24 PM
I don't know of any states that have exit exams of the type the OP describes.

I went to school in Maryland, and we had various statewide standardized tests at various points, but I don't think you had to pass any of those. They were just for the state to assess where the students (as a body) were. I could be wrong, though. I never paid much attention to these tests because, to be quite frank, I breezed right through them and never had any concern about passing them, even if passing them were required.

To graduate high school (9th-12th grade), we needed a certain number of course credits, and in getting those credits, we had to hit certain requirements. For instance, we needed 3 years of math. I took Algebra II, Trigonometry, and Pre-calc. Others, due to what they took in middle school (6th-8th grade), started with trigonometry and/or skipped from Pre-calc and went straight from Trig to Calculus and/or went on to Advanced Placement Calculus. We needed a semester of gym, at least a year of something artsy (band, pottery, photography), 4 years of English, 3 years, etc. Because of what was on offer, most students took basically the same courses throughout. So, generally it was Earth Science-Biology-Chemistry-Physics. The only difference was whether you took the regular version of those classes, the honors version, or the AP version. If you passed the class (based on a series of assignments, not one big test or paper as seems to be common in Europe), then you got credit, and if you got all the credits, you graduated. If not, you might have to take more credits in night school or summer school, or repeat a year.

As for AP classes, those are more advanced classes, at a college level. It's a national program, and at the end you take the AP test (or at least, we were required to take it if we took the AP class). We did not have to pass the test, just take it. Our grade for the actual class itself was, like other classes, based on a series of assignments throughout the year. However, if you do pass the AP test in high school, many colleges will award you credits. Because I took several AP tests and did well on them, I started college (university) with a whole semester's worth of credit already.