What is the CAHSEE?
State law, enacted in 1999, authorized the development of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), which students in California public schools would have to pass to earn a high school diploma. All California public school students must satisfy the CAHSEE requirement, as well as all other state and local requirements, in order to receive a high school diploma. The CAHSEE requirement can be satisfied by passing the exam or, for students with disabilities, receiving a local waiver pursuant to Education Code Section 60851(c), or receiving an exemption pursuant to Education Code Section 60852.4.
The purpose of the CAHSEE is to improve student achievement in high school and to help ensure that students who graduate from high school can demonstrate grade-level competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.
What subjects does the CAHSEE cover?
The CAHSEE consists of two parts: English-language arts (ELA) and mathematics. Test questions address California content standards that a High School Exit Examination Standards Panel, appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, determined students should know to graduate from high school.
The CAHSEE blueprints provide more information on the content of the exam and are available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site.
What is done to assist students with disabilities when taking the CAHSEE?
CAHSEE regulations specify accommodations and modifications that students with disabilities must be permitted to use if specified in the student's IEP or Section 504 Plan for use on the CAHSEE, standardized testing, or for use during classroom instruction and assessments. An accommodation is a change in the testing environment or process that does not alter what the CAHSEE measures or affect the comparability of scores, whereas a modification is a change that fundamentally alters what the CAHSEE measures or affects the comparability of scores.
What is done to assist English learners when taking the CAHSEE?
English learners must be permitted to take the CAHSEE with certain test variations if used regularly in the classroom. For example, if regularly used in the classroom, English learners must be permitted to hear the test directions in their primary language or use a translation glossary.
Students who are English learners are required to take the CAHSEE in grade ten with all other grade ten students. During their first 24 months in a California school, English learners are to receive six months of instruction in reading, writing, and comprehension in English (Education Code Section 60852). During this time, they are still required to take the CAHSEE.
When do parents and guardians receive their student’s CAHSEE results?
About eight weeks after each administration of the exam, school districts receive two copies of the CAHSEE Student and Parent Report for each student who took the examination. When school districts receive these reports, they are to immediately distribute one copy to parents and guardians and place the other copy in the student’s permanent record.
Do parents and guardians need to keep a copy of their student’s results?
Yes. It is important that parents and guardians keep a copy of the student report for their own records. The CDE does not keep a copy of individual student reports. Individual student scores are to be maintained by the student’s school district. The school district must ensure the records are maintained confidentially. (See Education Code Section 49073 and Title 20 United States Code Section 1232[g].)
How many opportunities do students have to pass the CAHSEE?
All students are required to take the CAHSEE for the first time in grade ten. Students who do not pass one or both parts of the exam in grade ten have up to two opportunities in grade eleven and five opportunities in grade twelve to retake the part(s) of the exam not yet passed. The CAHSEE testing schedule for the 2008-09 school year is on the link to the left called "test locations".
What happens if students do not pass the CAHSEE?
School districts are required to provide additional instruction to assist students who do not pass the exam. Parents and guardians are encouraged to contact the River Spring's Instructional Support Department for information on the programs offered.
Is the CAHSEE used for school and school district accountability purposes?
Yes. The state and federal governments use the CAHSEE as a measure of school and school district accountability. The state accountability program is the Public Schools Accountability Act, and the federal accountability program is the No Child Left Behind Act. The use of CAHSEE results for these accountability programs in no way affects how the CAHSEE is used for individual student accountability.
How can parents and guardians get their questions answered about the CAHSEE?
Additional CAHSEE information is posted on the CDE Web site.