October 25, 2016
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More Minorities Passing CA School Exit Exams

 SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell has released the latest results for the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) that show the state's public high school students continue to make steady progress in passing the test, which is a statewide graduation requirement.

"I am pleased that the latest Exit Exam results show that more of our students are mastering the mathematics and English-language arts skills measured by this exam," O'Connell said. "Passing the Exit Exam is a high school graduation requirement because students need these important basic skills to be successful in college, the workforce, and in life."

By the end of their senior year, approximately 94.5 percent, or more than 419,600 students in the Class of 2010, successfully passed both the English-language arts and mathematics portions of the CAHSEE.

The latest data indicate that an increasing percentage of students are passing the CAHSEE in the tenth grade, which is the first opportunity students have to take it. Some 80.6 percent of the Class of 2012 has already passed the English-language arts portion, compared to 79.2 percent of tenth graders in the Class of 2011. In mathematics, the passage rate for first-time test takers in the Class of 2012 is 80.7 percent, an increase of 0.9 percent over the Class of 2011.

The results among subgroups of students show the achievement gap is narrowing. By the end of their senior year, the cumulative passing rate for Black or African American students was 89.7 percent; Hispanic or Latino students, 91.6 percent; Asian students, 97.4 percent; and white students, 98.1 percent.

When comparing the first-time test takers in the Class of 2006 to the first-time test takers in Class of 2012, the achievement gap between Hispanic or Latino and white students has decreased by an estimated 8.6 percentage points in English-language arts and by 8.9 percentage points in mathematics. The achievement gap between Black or African American and white students is estimated to have decreased over the same time span by 5.9 percentage points on the English-language arts portion of the test and by 8.1 percentage points in mathematics .

"Closing the achievement gap and ensuring that all students are prepared with these critical skills must remain a top priority," O’Connell said. "I applaud the hard work of our students, teachers, and school staff that has resulted in the gap narrowing, but we cannot rest until it is fully erased and all students are meeting their full potential."

Students with disabilities are currently exempt from meeting the CAHSEE requirement; however, many of these students continue to take the exam. For the Class of 2010, the passing rate for students with disabilities was 53.4 percent.

On July 14, 2010, the State Board of Education determined that alternative means to the CAHSEE are feasible and directed the California Department of Education to draft regulations to extend the implementation date for alternative means from January 1, 2011 to July 1, 2012. The exemption from meeting the CAHSEE requirement for students with disabilities remains in place until alternative means are implemented.

Students who have failed one or both parts of the CAHSEE by the end of their senior year are eligible to continue to take the test and earn a high school diploma. According to preliminary analysis conducted by Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO), CDE's independent evaluator, an estimated 417 additional students from the Class of 2006 (the first graduation class that was required to meet the CAHSEE requirement) persisted in taking the test and successfully met the CAHSEE requirement between July 2009 and May 2010; an estimated 677 additional students from the Class of 2007 passed the examination by May 2010; an estimated 1,329 additional students from the Class of 2008 passed the examination by May 2010; and an estimated 4,514 additional students from the Class of 2009 passed by May 2010.

For the Class of 2010, approximately 24,615 students have not yet met the requirement. Due to the state budget crisis, funding intended for intensive remediation for students struggling to pass the CAHSEE was included in the list of categorical programs that can be used for any general educational purpose, however. O'Connell has called on schools and districts to continue to offer additional focused instructional services to help struggling students master the skills measured on the CAHSEE and meet the graduation requirement.

School-, district-, county-, and state-level 2010 results for the CAHSEE can be viewed HERE.

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