The purpose of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is
to ensure that students who graduate from California Public high
school's can demonstrate grade level competency in the state content
standards for reading, writing, and mathematics.
Education Code Section 60850 (a) states the following:
"The Superintendent of Public Instruction, with the approval
of the State Board of Education, shall develop a high school exit
examination in language arts and mathematics in accordance with
the statewide academically rigorous content standards adopted by
the State Board of Education…” These state content standards
are guidelines for districts to use in developing local district
content standards. The content standards also serve as the basis
for the curriculum frameworks, and all adopted instructional materials.
State tests are aligned with the adopted standards.
When Do Students take the exam?
Education Code Section 60851 (b) requires the Superintendent of
Public Instruction to provide the high school exit examination to
students who "shall take the high school exit examination in
grade 10 beginning in the 2001-02 school year and may take the examination
during each subsequent administration, until each section of the
examination has been passed.” Some students were given the
opportunity to take the CAHSEE as 9th graders in the 2000-01 academic
AB 1609, Calderon (2001), amended Education Code 60851 (b) and removed
the option for ninth graders to take the exam beginning with the
2002 administration. The exam has two parts: English-language arts
and mathematics. Students must pass both parts of the CAHSEE to
receive their high school diploma, beginning in spring 2004. Students
must also meet the district's requirements for graduation.
What is tested on the CAHSEE?
The California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) is aligned
to the English-language arts and mathematics content standards adopted
by the State Board of Education. The exam blueprint can be found
on the CDE Website CAHSEE page, under
The content standards in English-language arts are from the 9th/10th
grade. The content standards in mathematics are from the 6th and
7th grade (e.g., number sense; algebra and functions; measurement
and geometry; statistics, data analysis, and probability; and mathematical
reasoning), and from Algebra 1.