Students likely to fail high school exit exam can be identified as early as 4th grade, study says

Seema Mehta, via a kind reader’s email:

As early as fourth grade, students who will be at risk of failing the high school exit exam – a state requirement to earn a diploma – can be identified based on grades, classroom behavior and test scores, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The findings, based on an extensive study of student achievement in San Diego schools, call into question the effectiveness of aiming significant efforts and tens of millions of dollars at struggling high school seniors and older students to help them pass the exam.
“From a political standpoint, such spending seems necessary. However, our results strongly suggest that these 11th-hour interventions by themselves are unlikely to yield the intended results,” according to the report by the Public Policy Institute of California.
Instead, the authors suggested, “moving a portion of these tutoring dollars to struggling students in earlier grades – when the students are still in school – could be a wise choice. An ounce of prevention could indeed be worth a pound of cure.”