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CDE Releases 2013-14 California High School Exit Exam Results, Pass Rate Matches Last Year

October 2, 2014

On September 19, the California Department of Education released the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) results, and the pass rate for the Class of 2014 was 95.5 percent – matching the record high passage rate from last year.

"I am pleased California's high school students continue to pass this graduation exam at record rates," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said. "Dedicated educators have worked hard in difficult times to prepare students for college and careers, but we must keep striving for even higher levels of achievement so all students have the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to be successful."

The CAHSEE is administered each year to ensure students who graduate from public high schools demonstrate competency in reading, writing, and mathematics. Students who do not pass the CAHSEE in grade ten have two opportunities in grade eleven and up to five opportunities in grade twelve to pass the exam.

The preliminary 2013-14 results are for the July, October, November, and December 2013 and the February, March, and May 2014 test administrations.

The estimated 95.5 percent of the students (totaling 417,960) from the Class of 2014 who met the CAHSEE requirement by the end of their senior year equals the same overall pass rate achieved by the Class of 2013 and represents a 5.1 percentage point increase since 2006, when the test was first required for graduation (Tables 1 and 2).

Students from the Class of 2014 did better than their counterparts from the Class of 2013 when taking the test for the first time as sophomores, when the exam is first given to all tenth grade students. Approximately 74.8 percent of the Class of 2014 passed both the mathematics and English language arts (ELA) portions of the exam on their first attempt a 1 percentage point increase over first-time test takers in 2013 and a 10.5 percentage point increase over first-time test takers in 2006 (Table 2).

When broken into subgroups, the estimated CAHSEE passage rate for the Class of 2014 was 98.6 percent of white students, 94.2 percent of students from low-income families, 93.8 percent of Hispanic or Latino students, and 80.6 percent of students who are learning English (Table 1).

(Please note: The statewide passing rates in ables 1, 2, and 3 combine the results for both the mathematics and ELA sections of the CAHSEE. These results are taken from specially prepared reports produced by the CAHSEE independent evaluator, the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO). Other results provided by ETSĀ®, the CDE testing contractor, including those for counties, districts, and schools are not combined and give the percentages of students passing either mathematics or ELA. (To see these tables correctly, please view them in HTML.)

During the 2013-14 CAHSEE administration, 608,720 students took the ELA section with 459,864 passing and 596,043 took the mathematics section, with 461,607 passing.

There is a slight increase in the percentage of students passing the CAHSEE as first-time test takers during their sophomore year. An estimated 83.2 percent of the Class of 2015 (who were eleventh graders this past school year) and 83.2 percent of the Class of 2016 (who were tenth graders this past school year) already have passed the ELA portion of the exam compared to 83 percent of the Class of 2014 (Table 4). For mathematics, the passage rate was 84.1 percent for the Class of 2015 and 85.1 percent for the Class of 2016, compared to 83.6 percent for the Class of 2014 (Table 5).

Overall, long-term progress has been made to narrow the achievement gap between subgroups, but for the Classes of 2015 and 2016, results have been mixed so far. The gap in passage rates between Hispanic and white students in ELA widened between the Class of 2015 and Class of 2016, while it narrowed in mathematics (Table 6). The achievement gap between African American and white grade ten students increased slightly in English language arts and decreased slightly in mathematics (Table 7).

The posting of CAHSEE-related items on social media has been minimal. Similar to last year, a small number of social media postings was identified by the CDE's testing contractor and taken down immediately with the cooperation of schools and districts. Only three partial test questions and no full test questions were posted and none of the postings had any impact on the exam.

Results for the CAHSEE, which is one of several state and local graduation requirements for all students, will be provided at the school, district, county, and state levels and will be posted on the CDE CAHSEE 2013-14 Summary Results page. Individual student CAHSEE results are confidential and are not included in the Internet posting.

In addition to releasing the CAHSEE results, the CDE is also releasing the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Reports and the Program Improvement (PI) Reports on the Accountability Progress Reporting Web page.

The CDE is producing 2014 AYP Reports only for high schools and high school districts with enrollment in grades nine, ten, eleven, and/or twelve. High school AYP determinations are based on grade ten CAHSEE and California Alternate Performance Assessment (CAPA) assessment results. Because all California students participated in the Smarter Balanced Field Test, and no assessment results are available for grades three through eight, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) granted a one-year waiver that allows flexibility in making AYP determinations. Therefore, elementary and middle schools and elementary and unified school districts will not receive a 2014 AYP Report. In addition, if these schools and districts were in PI in 2013-14, they will carry over their PI placement to 2014-15.

2013-14 California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) Results

Background

In 1999, state law authorized the development of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), requiring students in California public schools to pass this test to earn a high school diploma in addition to meeting other graduation requirements.

The standards assessed on the CAHSEE are aligned to the 1999 English language arts and mathematics state content standards. Current law specifies that all public high school students must take the CAHSEE for the first time in grade ten, including students with disabilities (SWDs).

Students who do not pass the CAHSEE in grade ten have two opportunities in grade eleven and at least three and up to five opportunities in grade twelve to pass the examination.

Beginning with the 2009-10 school year, SWDs were exempted from passing the CAHSEE as a graduation requirement; however SWDs must take the CAHSEE in grade ten to fulfill the requirements of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (20 U.S.C. Sec. 7114).

Summary of CAHSEE Results

A summary of statewide student performance on the CAHSEE is provided below. Note that while final data are available for years 2004 through 2013, the results reported for 2014 are preliminary.

The data displayed on Tables 1, 2, and 3 are taken from reports produced by the CAHSEE independent evaluator, Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO). In the annual report to be released in fall 2014, HumRRO will provide additional CAHSEE results by grade.

Table 1 Findings

The results presented in Table 1 display the estimated cumulative percentage of students meeting the CAHSEE requirement for the Class of 2014 in grades ten, eleven, and twelve. (These data are taken from reports produced by HumRRO.) The passing rates presented in Table 1 for grades ten and eleven include SWDs in all demographic subgroups. The grade twelve passing rates exclude SWDs in all demographic subgroups, as SWDs are exempt from meeting the CAHSEE graduation requirement.

  1. Approximately 95.5 percent of the students from the Class of 2014 met the CAHSEE requirement by the end of their senior year.
  2. Approximately 80.6 percent of the English learners (ELs) met the CAHSEE requirement by the end of their senior year.
  3. Approximately 57.2 percent of the SWDs met the CAHSEE requirement by the end of their senior year.
  4. Approximately 94.2 percent of the economically disadvantaged students met the CAHSEE requirement by the end of their senior year.
  5. Over 90 percent of all subgroups, except ELs and SWDs, are meeting the CAHSEE requirement by the end of their senior year.

Table 2 Findings

The results displayed in Table 2 show the estimated cumulative percentage of students meeting the CAHSEE requirement by grade for the Classes of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. The passing rates presented in Table 2, when grade 12 students took the CAHSEE in grade 10 and grade 11, include SWDs. The grade twelve passing rates in Table 2 exclude SWDs, as SWDs are exempt from meeting the CAHSEE graduation requirement. Grade 10 students must take the CAHSEE to fulfill ESEA requirements.

  1. There was an increase of 1.0 percentage point for grade ten students from the Class of 2014 who met the CAHSEE requirement on their first attempt as compared to grade ten students from the Class of 2013.
  2. There was a 10.5 percentage point increase in grade ten students from the Class of 2014 who met the CAHSEE requirement on their first attempt as compared to the grade ten students from the Class of 2006.
  3. There was an approximate 7.5 percentage point increase in grade eleven students from the Class of 2014 who met the CAHSEE requirement as compared to grade eleven students from the Class of 2006.
  4. An increase of approximately 5.1 percentage points of the grade twelve students from the Class of 2014 met the CAHSEE requirement as compared to grade twelve students from the Class of 2006.

Table 3 Findings

Table 3 displays a point-in-time comparison of the percentage of students for each class meeting the CAHSEE requirement by May in their respective senior years. Table 3 includes SWDs in all subgroups for the Classes of 2008 and 2009. For the Classes of 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, SWDs were exempted from passing the CAHSEE as a graduation requirement and have been excluded for all subgroups except the special education subgroup.

  1. Approximately 95.5 percent of students from the Class of 2014 have met the CAHSEE requirement by the end of their senior year.
  2. The Achievement Gap for meeting the CAHSEE requirement for Black or African American and Hispanic or Latino students is narrowing when compared to White students. Though White students achieved a 1.3 percentage point increase for the Classes of 2006-2014, the percentage point increase for Black or African American students is 8.5 percentage points, a 7.2 percentage point difference. The percentage point change for Hispanic or Latino students is 8.3 or a difference of seven percentage points compared to white students.
  3. Hispanic or Latino students in the Class of 2014 display an increase in passing rates when compared to other subgroups. In the Class of 2014 compared to the Class of 2013 the Hispanic or Latino students show no change but when compared to the Class of 2006, an 8.3 percentage point increase was realized at the same point in time of their senior year.
  4. Additionally, Economically Disadvantaged students in the Class of 2014 demonstrated a 0.7 percentage point increase compared to the Class of 2013.
  5. In the Class of 2014, American Indian or Alaska Native students show a percentage point increase of 0.1 compared to the Class of 2013. Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander students show a percentage point increase of 1.0 compared to 2013.
  6. Black or African American students show a percentage point increase of 0.4 when the Class of 2014 is compared with the Class of 2013. Black or African American students show an 8.5 percentage point increase, when comparing the Class of 2014 to the Class of 2006 at the same point in time of their senior year.
  7. ELs in the Class of 2014 show a percentage point decrease of 1.6 in passing rates when compared to the ELs in the Class of 2013 at the same point in time of their senior year. ELs show a percentage point increase of 4.6 when the Class of 2006 is compared to the Class of 2014. SWDs in the Class of 2014 show an increase in passing rates of 3.6 percentage points when compared to SWDs in the Class of 2013.

Tables 4 and 5 Findings

Tables 4 and 5 present the passing rates for grade ten students in ELA and mathematics, respectively. The grade ten passing rates presented in Tables 4 and 5 include SWDs in all subgroups. The data displayed in Tables 4 and 5 are taken from preliminary reports from DataQuest.

  1. The passing rate on the ELA portion of the CAHSEE for grade ten students in the Class of 2016 was 83.2 percent, an improvement of 8.5 percentage points from the passing rate for grade ten students in the Class of 2006 (Table 4).
  2. Economically disadvantaged grade ten students in the Class of 2016 compared to economically disadvantaged grade ten students in the Class of 2006 have increased passing rates of 16.6 and 19.0 percentage points in ELA and mathematics, respectively (Tables 4 and 5).
  3. Additionally, the change in percent for economically disadvantaged students compared to non-economically disadvantaged is approximately eleven percentage points higher for the ELA and mathematics portions of the CAHSEE (Tables 4 and 5).
  4. For the mathematics portion of the CAHSEE, the passing rate for the students in the Class of 2016 was 85.1 percent, an 11.4 percentage point increase over the passing percentage for grade ten students in the Class of 2006 (Table 5).

Tables 6 and 7 Findings

Tables 6 and 7 display the differences in the percentage of Hispanic or Latino and Black or African American grade ten students passing the CAHSEE compared to White students (i.e., achievement gap) from the Classes of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 for ELA and mathematics. The grade ten data presented in Tables 6 and 7 includes SWDs in the passing rates. While there was a slight increase in percentage point change in ELA and mathematics for grade 10 students in the 2015-16 comparison, the achievement gap between both Hispanic or Latino, African American and White students continues to narrow in mathematics.

  1. For the ELA portion of the CAHSEE, the gap between Hispanic or Latino and White students has narrowed by 12.8 percentage points from the Class of 2006 to the Class of 2016.
  2. For the mathematics portion of the CAHSEE, the gap between Hispanic or Latino and White students has narrowed by 14.1 percentage points from the Class of 2006 to the Class of 2016 (Table 6).
  3. For the ELA portion of the CAHSEE, the gap between Black or African American and White students has narrowed by 6.7 percentage points from the Class of 2006 to the Class of 2016.
  4. For the mathematic portion of the CAHSEE, the gap between Black or African American and White students has narrowed by 12.5 percentage points from the Class of 2006 to the Class of 2016 (Table 7).

Source:  California Department of Education