Nearly two-thirds of the students who fail the test are Hispanic. Black students and those from poor families are also falling behind their white peers. O’Connell says there’s no doubt about it, California has an achievement gap.
"We know that, we admit that. Clearly, having an achievement gap in California is disturbing and to me it’s unacceptable. I welcome the dialogue that we need to have to address the achievement gap in the state of California."
O’Connell says students who don’t pass can enroll in summer school, adult education or take a fifth year of high school.
Last week, the state Supreme Court reversed an earlier decision blocking the exam, essentially ending debate over the exam for this year.