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: Appeals Process or Alternative Ways of Demonstrating Competency

Many states with exit exams offer students who fail the exam the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills through an appeal process and/or alternative measures. This database indicates which states make available an appeal or alternative measure of competency for students who are unable to achieve a passing score on exit exams.

Why does it matter? Students benefit when they are able to demonstrate proficiency by using alternative means.

Highlights:

  • Reciprocity with other states: Seven states allow scores from other states to count as a passing score for that state's exam.
  • Substitute assessments: Twelve states allow students to pass another exam in lieu of the exit exam (e.g. the SAT).
  • Evaluation of course grades: Seven states allow students to appeal their exit exam scores by using, in part, grades in relevant courses.
  • Evaluation of classroom evidence: Seven states use an evaluation of student portfolios and other classroom work as a part of an appeal to a student's exit exam score.
  • Evaluation of other criteria: Seven states use other criteria as a part of an appeal.  This includes participation in remediation, attendance, letters of recommendation, etc.
  • Accommodations for general education students: Two states allow general education students to use accommodations while taking an exit exam.
  • Issuance of alternative diploma or certificate: Nine states issue an alternative diploma or certificate to general education students who do not pass an exit exam but who meet all other graduation requirements.

    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 accessible through this link.

    Last updated: March 12, 2008

    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.
  • Appeals process or alternative ways of demonstrating competency
    Alabama Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes, a student who passes the GED and fulfills all course requirements receive an Alabama Alternate Adult High School diploma, which carries the same weight as the standard diploma in terms of college admissions, federal financial aid and employment applications.
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Alaska Reciprocity with other states: Yes
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate:Yes
    American Samoa
    Arizona Reciprocity with other states: Yes, a transfer student may be exempt if the student has "successfully passed a statewide assessment test on state adopted standards that are substantially equivalent to the [Arizona] state board adopted academic standards."
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: Yes, a student graduating in 2006 or 2007 only who fails one or more sections of the exit exam may augment his/her scores on the exam with course grades of "C" or better to help achieve passing scores.
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Arkansas Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes, if a student has failed the assessment three times, they must pass an alternative assessment to graduate
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    California Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Colorado
    Connecticut
    Delaware
    District of Columbia
    Florida Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes, the ACT and SAT (only after student has not passed three times)
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    Georgia Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: Yes
    Criteria-based: Yes
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    Hawaii
    Idaho Reciprocity with other states: Yes
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Illinois
    Indiana Reciprocity with other states: Yes
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: Yes
    Classroom evidence: Yes
    Criteria-based: Yes
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Iowa
    Kansas
    Kentucky
    Louisiana Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Maine
    Maryland Reciprocity with other states: Yes, transfer students may be exempted from the exit exam if they previously passed an equivalent course and are awarded credit at the new school.
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Massachusetts Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: Yes
    Classroom evidence: Yes
    Criteria-based: Yes
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Michigan
    Minnesota Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: Yes
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Mississippi Reciprocity with other states: Yes
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: Yes
    Classroom evidence: Yes
    Criteria-based: Yes
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Missouri
    Montana
    Nebraska
    Nevada Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    New Mexico Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No; however, beginning with 2010-2011 school year, students may be evaluated based on "a portfolio of standards-based indicators established by the department" of education.
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    New York Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: Yes
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: Yes
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    North Carolina Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    North Dakota
    Ohio Reciprocity with other states: Yes
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: Yes
    Classroom evidence: Yes
    Criteria-based: Yes
    Accommodations for general education students: Yes
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Oklahoma Oklahoma is currently deliberating as to which appeals processes will be allowed. Exit exam will be implemented effective Class of 2012.
    Oregon
    Pennsylvania
    Puerto Rico
    Rhode Island
    South Carolina Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    South Dakota
    Tennessee Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: No
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: Yes
    Criteria-based: Yes
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    Texas Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes, students transferring to Texas in their senior year may substitute the SAT or ACT scores in English or math.
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    Utah
    Vermont
    Virgin Islands
    Virginia Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: No
    Classroom evidence: No
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: Yes
    Washington Reciprocity with other states: No
    Substitute assessment: Yes
    Course grades: Yes
    Classroom evidence: Yes
    Criteria-based: No
    Accommodations for general education students: No
    Alternative diploma or certificate: No
    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