Effective the 2015-16 school year, the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) will be suspended for three years due to its failure to align with the new Common Core standards, as stated by a recently passed state bill.
In the past, state laws required students to pass the CAHSEE in eight tries or less in order to graduate from high school. However, because the exam has been suspended, students slated to complete high school in 2016 and 2017 will be able to graduate regardless of whether they have passed the CAHSEE.
In May 2015, state lawmakers initially tried to pass a bill suspending the CAHSEE to create graduation standards more relevant to the new Common Core curriculum. The suspension of the CAHSEE will give state officials time to both revise the exam and to set new graduation requirements that will more closely follow Common Core standards.
“The [state officials] really have a desire to not have a one-size-fits-all evaluation system for our schools and for students,”the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Education Jon R. Gundry said. “They want the local school districts to have some say in what the graduation requirements are and what the standards of the accountability should be. But they are having a hard time coming up with a hybrid system where there’s a state test and also room for local accountability measures.”
[pullquote speaker=”Jon R. Gundry” photo=”” align=”left” background=”on” border=”all” shadow=”on”][State officials] really have a desire to not have a one-size-fits-all evaluation system for our schools and for students.[/pullquote]
Officials learned that the CAHSEE test contract with the Education Testing Service had expired in May 2015 and officials decided to cancel the July administration of the CAHSEE. After learning so, the state suspended the CAHSEE in the 2015 school year rather than the 2016 school year to provide relief for the 5,000 Californian high school seniors who did not pass the exam that year, allowing them to graduate regardless.
The CAHSEE was also previously used in calculating each schools’ Academic Performance Index (API) for state accountability purposes. API is a measurement of academic performance and progress of individuals. The results from the California Standardized Tests including the CAHSEE factors into a school’s API.
The state board is trying to avoid falling into that system again with the revision of the CAHSEE.