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California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE)

State law requires students in California public schools to pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) to receive a high school diploma. Education Code sections 60850 and 68051 authorized the development and implementation of the exam. The purpose of the CAHSEE is to improve student achievement in high school and make sure students who graduate from high school can demonstrate competency in English language arts and mathematics.

The CAHSEE is divided into two parts: English Language Arts and Mathematics. The questions address important state content standards that a High School Exit Examination Standards Panel, appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, felt students should master to graduate from high school. The English language arts section addresses state content standards through Grade 10. It consists of multiple-choice questions and a writing task. The reading portion of the exam covers vocabulary, informational reading, and reading literature. The mathematics portion of the test addresses state standards from Grades 6 through 8, including algebra. It consists of multiple-choice questions that cover number sense, algebra and functions, measurement and geometry, and probability and statistics.

Students who do not pass the CAHSEE in 10th grade have additional opportunities to retake the exam during 11th grade and at least three opportunities in 12th grade. Only the part(s) not passed must be taken again. In addition, school districts are required by law to provide supplemental instruction aligned to state academic content standards for students who do not pass the exam.

All students who have not passed CAHSEE by the end of grade 12 are encouraged to continue their education and avail themselves of all remediation opportunities, including those the district makes available for intensive instruction and services after grade 12.

Parents and students have a right to submit a Uniform ComplaintPDF if they believe their needs are not being met. A copy of the form is available at school sites or at the district Office of General Counsel located at 4100 Normal Street, Room 2148, San Diego, CA 92103. A copy may also be downloaded from