California decided to cancel its high school exit exam. Now the state is trying to locate 32,000 students who were denied diplomas since 2006 because they did not pass the exam, but met all the other requirements for graduation.

Sifting through old high school transcripts and searching for names on Facebook, school officials across California are scrambling to hand out thousands of diplomas to former students, many of whom gave up on graduating and don’t realize they’re now eligible.

The young men and women, some in their late 20s, became sudden qualifiers for a diploma after Gov. Jerry Brown last week retroactively revoked the requirement that all students pass the controversial California High School Exit Exam. With the stroke of a pen, the governor brought relief to up to 32,000 students since the class of 2006 who only needed to pass the test to graduate.

Some districts are using Facebook and other social media to search for former students.

“Sifting through old high school transcripts and searching for names on Facebook, school officials across California are scrambling to hand out thousands of diplomas to former students, many of whom gave up on graduating and don’t realize they’re now eligible.

The young men and women, some in their late 20s, became sudden qualifiers for a diploma after Gov. Jerry Brown last week retroactively revoked the requirement that all students pass the controversial California High School Exit Exam. With the stroke of a pen, the governor brought relief to up to 32,000 students since the class of 2006 who only needed to pass the test to graduate.

The about-face on the Exit Exam began earlier this year when the state Department of Education stopped administering the test while the Legislature considered suspending the graduation requirement.

As The Chronicle reported in August, that left thousands of members of the class of 2015 in limbo, required to pass a test the state no longer offered. An emergency state law waived the Exit Exam requirement for the class of 2015, but did not address what would happen to former students still trying to pass the test and get a diploma years after they left high school.

The new law, signed by the governor Wednesday, not only revoked the Exit Exam graduation requirement going back to the class of 2006, but also suspended it through 2017. State officials now must decide whether to create a new test aligned with the new Common Core standards or come up with another way to verify a level of academic proficiency needed to get a diploma.

As is often the case, California is forging a different path from the rest of the nation.