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CAHSEE-ya later!

CCHS students now have one less thing to stress about because the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) has been eliminated.

Since 2006, all High School students in California have been required to pass the CAHSEE in order to graduate, but just this year, Senate Bill 172 was signed to suspend the examination for the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 years. The law also requires that schools grant a diploma to any pupil who met every graduation requirement except for the passage of the exit exam. At Culver City High School, 39 students from 2006 on are now eligible to receive their diplomas dated January 1st, 2016.

The CAHSEE was designed to demonstrate competency in grade-level skills in reading, writing, and mathematics. It had two parts: an English Language Arts section and a mathematics section. Both consisted of multiple-choice questions and the ELA section had a writing task. From 10th-12th grade, students were given a total of 8 chances to pass the exam, but failure to do so meant no diploma.

Obviously student happiness and stress relief wasn’t the reason the CAHSEE was suspended, so what prompted this change? As CCHS Assistant Principal Lisa Michel explained, “[The CAHSEE] never directly tied to the standards that we teach in high school–the math section covered mostly 7th grade math and a little algebra. The CAHSEE was even further outmoded by the newer, more rigorous Common Core state standards, making it even less relevant.” Also, a single test should not be the bar that keeps a student from their diploma even if “the bar was set pretty low with the CAHSEE.” As the exam did not really test what a student needs to know to succeed after high school, it was an understandable choice to get rid of it.

Now the question is, what’s going to happen after 2018? Unfortunately nothing is clear yet, but according to Michel, the state is considering using some sort of base score from the 11th grade SBAC exams that all juniors have to take anyway as the new form of exit exam. So at least for now, everyone can relax a little bit and focus on more important things, because the CAHSEE seems to be gone for good!

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