# WHAT IS CAHSEE by jackshepherd

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```									                   CAHSEE Information for Parents/Guardians/Family

What is
CAHSEE?
What is CAHSEE?                                                            page 2
What subjects does the CAHSEE cover?                                       page 2
What kinds of questions are on the CAHSEE?                                 page 3
How is the CAHSEE scored?                                                  page 3
What is done to assist students with special needs?                        page 4
What is done to assist English Learners?                                   page 4
How many opportunities do students have to pass the CAHSEE?                page 5
What happens if students do not pass the CAHSEE?                           page 5
What kinds of support are available to help students pass the CAHSEE?      pages 5-6
How can parents/guardians get their questions answered about the CAHSEE?   page 6

OUSD High School Network                                                       Page 1 of 6
CAHSEE Information for Parents/Guardians/Family

WHAT IS CAHSEE?
CAHSEE is the California High School Exit Exam. The State of California has
mandated the exam in order to “ensure that high school graduates can use
mathematics and read and write in English competently.” Beginning with the class
of 2006 (11th grade students in 2004-2005), a student must pass both the English-
Language Arts and Math sections of CAHSEE in order to earn a high school
diploma.

WHAT SUBJECTS DOES THE CAHSEE COVER?
CAHSEE covers two subjects: Mathematics and English-Language Arts.

The English-Language Arts part of the exam tests students on state content
standards1 through grade ten. The areas tested include:
• Vocabulary
• Decoding
• Comprehension
• Analysis of information and literary texts
• Writing strategies
• Writing conventions (grammar, spelling, punctuation)

The Mathematics part of the CAHSEE tests student on middle school state
content standards. The areas tested include:
• Statistics, data analysis and probability
• Number sense
• Measurement and geometry
• Mathematical reasoning
• Algebra

Students are also asked to demonstrate a strong foundation in computation and
arithmetic, including working with decimals, fractions, and percentages.

Additional specific information about what is tested on the CAHSEE is included in
the Mathematics and English-Language Arts Study Guides.
1
“State Content Standards” spell out what a student is expected to learn each year. More information about the
standards tested on CAHSEE is available in the Study Guides.

OUSD High School Network                                                                                 Page 2 of 6
CAHSEE Information for Parents/Guardians/Family

WHAT KINDS OF QUESTIONS ARE ON THE CAHSEE?

Most of the questions on the CAHSEE are multiple-choice. The math part of the
CAHSEE is composed of 92 multiple-choice questions (80 that are scored, plus
another 12 that the test-makers are trying out for future use). The English-
language arts part of the exam includes 79 multiple-choice questions (72 scored, 7
being tried out for future use), as well as one essay question.

HOW IS THE CAHSEE SCORED?

In English-language arts, each student earns a raw score that includes one point
for each correct multiple-choice answer given, as well as 4.5 per score point for the
essay (which is scored on a 4-point scale). The highest possible raw score that can
be earned in English-language arts is 90 points (72 multiple choice points plus 18
possible points for the essay).

Each raw score is also expressed as a scale score from 275-450. To pass the
English-language arts part of the CAHSEE, a student must answer at least 60% of
the questions correctly. This translates into a scale score of 350.

In mathematics, each student earns a raw score that includes one point for each
correct multiple choice answer given. The highest raw score that can be earned for
the Math part of the exam is 80 points. To pass the Math part of the CAHSEE, a
student must answer at least 55% of the questions correctly. This translates into a
scale score of 350.

CAHSEE score reports are mailed to parents/guardians about two months after the
exam. Results are also available from your child’s school.

OUSD High School Network                                                     Page 3 of 6
CAHSEE Information for Parents/Guardians/Family

WHAT IS DONE TO ASSIST STUDENTS WITH
SPECIAL NEEDS?

If a student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a Section 504 Plan2, it
should describe any special arrangements the student is entitled to while taking an
exam. Special arrangements for taking the CAHSEE are categorized as either
“accommodations” or “modifications.” It is important to understand the difference
between them because it may affect a student’s score on the exam.

An accommodation does not change what the test measures – for example, taking
extra breaks during the exam, or using a test booklet with large print.

A modification fundamentally changes what the exam measures – for example,
using a calculator on the mathematics part of the exam, or hearing an audio
presentation of the questions on the English-language arts part of the exam.

Students must be permitted to use any accommodations or modifications on the
CAHSEE that are specified for testing purposes in their IEP or Section 504 Plan.
Students who take the exam using an accommodation receive a score just as any
other student does. However, students who use a modification receive a numeric
score followed by the words “NOT VALID.” If the student receives a score of 350
or higher, the student’s principal may request a “waiver” from the local school
board at the parent’s or guardian’s request. This is done by presenting evidence
proving that the student has gained the knowledge and skills otherwise needed to
pass the CAHSEE.

WHAT IS DONE TO ASSIST ENGLISH LEARNERS?

Students who are English learners are required to take the CAHSEE in grade ten
with all students. However, the law says that during their first 24 months in a
California school, they are to receive six months of special instruction in reading,
writing, and comprehension in English.

2
IEPS and 504 plans enable students to access special education services as needed. For more information about
IEPs and 504 plans, please consult the principal.

OUSD High School Network                                                                              Page 4 of 6
CAHSEE Information for Parents/Guardians/Family

HOW MANY OPPORTUNITIES DO STUDENTS HAVE
TO PASS THE CAHSEE?

Students take the test for the first time in the Spring of tenth grade. Each student
one opportunity after the conclusion of the 12th grade.

The test is given over two days. The first day, students take the English-Language
Arts part of the test. The second day, students take the Math part of the test. The
next CAHSEE testing opportunity for 10th grade students is February 8-9, 2005.
The next testing opportunity for 11th grade students who have not yet passed
CAHSEE is March 15-16, 2005.

WHAT HAPPENS IF STUDENTS DO NOT PASS THE
CAHSEE?

If a student completes all other graduation requirements but does not pass the
CAHSEE, he or she will receive a certificate, NOT a high school diploma. A
certificate will not qualify a student for State University, nor for any job requiring
a high school diploma.

WHAT KINDS OF SUPPORT ARE AVAILABLE TO
HELP STUDENTS PASS THE CAHSEE?

Different supports are in place at each high school to ensure that all students pass
the CAHSEE. Schools are using a variety of strategies, including:

• Getting the word out about the importance of the exam, the testing dates, and
our confidence in students to succeed
• Reviewing past test results to understand each student’s learning strengths
and gaps in the areas tested on CAHSEE
• In-class activities such as math problem-of-the-day and quick-essays

OUSD High School Network                                                       Page 5 of 6
CAHSEE Information for Parents/Guardians/Family

• An elective CAHSEE Math course
• After-school and Saturday workshops and tutoring
• Involving parents/guardians and students in understanding and learning the
specific standards students need to master to succeed on CAHSEE

Parents can play a big role in helping students pass the exam by:

• Emphasizing the importance of passing the exam
• Reviewing past test results
• Talking with teachers about what is being done in the classroom and how to
support learning at home
• Playing an active role in connecting students with available supports and
• Helping students with test-taking skills (described in the Study Guides)
• Helping students review and practice the standards tested on the exam
(described on the Study Guides)

HOW CAN PARENTS AND GUARDIANS GET THEIR

• From the principal and other educators at your child’s school

• From the district CAHSEE Testing Coordinator:
o Norma Yim, norma.yim@ousd.k12.ca.us

• From the OUSD High School Network:
o Amy Epstein, Data Inquiry Coach, amy.epstein@ousd.k12.ca.us
o Cleo Protopapas, Math Specialist, cprotopapas@sfo.com

From the State of California web-site: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/index.asp

OUSD High School Network                                                  Page 6 of 6

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