Twenty-six states require high-school students to pass exit exams to graduate, but critics say standards have been relaxed to ensure students receive a diploma. "The real pattern in states has been that the standards are lowered so much that the exams end up not benefiting students who pass them while still hurting the students who fail them," one expert said. However, teachers say in surveys that the exams have helped focus school curriculum, and others say students take the exams more seriously.

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