Education Commission of the States • 700 Broadway, Suite 810 • Denver, CO 80203-3442 • 303.299.3600 • Fax: 303.296.8332 • www.ecs.org
Exit Exams: Purposes Besides for Graduation

States use their exit exams for purposes other than as a component of the graduation requirements. School accountability refers to a state's use of exit exams for purposes of state or federal accountability. Course credit refers to the statewide practice of factoring in an exit exam score when calculating each student's course grade (often the case with end-of-course exams). Level of diploma refers to the use of the exit exam score as a part of the determination of issuing a special endorsement with the diploma. Scholarship eligibility refers to the use of exit exam scores to determine eligibility for specific scholarships.

Why does it matter? States benefit when students take assessments more seriously (when tests hold the potential for personal consequences or recognition).

Highlights:

  • School accountability: Nearly every state with an exit exam uses it as a means of measuring school performance.
  • Course credit: Six states use exit exams as a component of the course grade.
  • Level of diploma: Six states use scores as a criterion for an honors or other advanced diploma or endorsement.
  • Scholarship eligibility: Three states use the scores from exit exams to determine scholarship eligibility.

    Methodology: This information was collected from state statutes, rules and regulations, and state education agency Web sites, and will be updated as new policies and programs are enacted.

    Sources for all data points are available through this link.

    Last updated: June 26, 2007

    Research conducted by Michael Colasanti.  Please contact Jennifer Dounay Zinth at 303.299.3689 or jdounay@ecs.org with comments or questions about this database.
  • Purposes besides for graduation
    Alabama
  • School accountability
  • Alaska
  • Graduation only
  • American Samoa
    Arizona
  • School accountability
  • Scholarship eligibility
    Notes/Citation: Students who meet and/or exceed standards on the exit exam and meet other requirements may be eligible for an in-state public university tuition waiver (High Honors Scholarship) renewable for up to four years.
  • Arkansas
  • School accountability
    Notes/Citation: Effective school year 2009-2010.
  • Course credit
    Notes/Citation: Effective school year 2009-2010.
  • California
  • School accountability
  • Colorado
    Connecticut
    Delaware
    District of Columbia
    Florida
  • School accountability
  • Georgia
  • School accountability
  • Hawaii
    Idaho
  • School accountability
  • Illinois
    Indiana
  • School accountability
  • Iowa
    Kansas
    Kentucky
    Louisiana
  • School accountability
  • Level of diploma
  • Maine
    Maryland
  • School accountability
    Notes/Citation: Effective class of 2009
  • Massachusetts
  • School accountability
  • Level of diploma
  • Scholarship eligibility
  • Michigan
    Minnesota
  • School accountability
  • Mississippi
  • School accountability
  • Missouri
    Montana
    Nebraska
    Nevada
  • School accountability
  • New Hampshire
    New Jersey
  • School accountability
  • New Mexico
  • Graduation only
  • New York
  • School accountability
  • Course credit
  • Level of diploma
  • Scholarship eligibility
  • North Carolina
  • School accountability
  • Course credit
  • North Dakota
    Ohio
  • School accountability
  • Oklahoma
  • School accountability
  • Level of diploma
    Notes/Citation: Districts may choose to award a certificate of distinction to students who pass all end-of-instruction tests with satisfactory scores and who meet other academic distiction criteria.
  • Oregon
    Pennsylvania
    Puerto Rico
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina
  • School accountability
  • Course credit
  • South Dakota
    Tennessee
  • School accountability
  • Course credit
  • Texas
  • Graduation only
  • Utah
    Vermont
    Virgin Islands
    Virginia
  • School accountability
  • Course credit
  • Level of diploma
  • Washington
  • School accountability
  • Level of diploma
    Notes/Citation: Students who pass all tests receive a certificate of academic achievement.
  • West Virginia
    Wisconsin
    Wyoming


    © 2013 by the Education Commission of the States (ECS). All rights reserved. ECS is the only nationwide, nonpartisan interstate compact devoted to education.
    To request permission to excerpt part of this publication, either in print or electronically, please fax a request to the attention of the ECS Communications Department, 303.296.8332 or e-mail ecs@ecs.org.
    Helping State Leaders Shape Education Policy