The English Subject Area of CAHSEE





5 Important Points about CAHSEE English

CAHSEE or California High School Exit Examination is a mandatory exam for all students studying in the California state because; students would be awarded their high school diploma only after they pass these tests. Mathematics and English/Language Arts are the two subject areas tested in the CAHSEE.

English CAHSEE

The details of this section and the important points that you should know about the test are given below:

  1. Level of the Test and When to take the Test

    The questions in this section of the test pertain to what you have studied in school up to grade 10. The test can be taken while you are in grade 10. If you do not pass the test, you can reattempt the test in grade 11 and 12. In grade 11 you can retake the test up to 2 times and in grade 12, you can sit for the test up to 5 times. If the counselors in your school feel that you are not making the required progress, they will help you by providing support in preparing  for the English section.

  2. Topics Covered

    The reading and writing skills of the English language are tested in this segment of the test. Vocabulary, Information Reading and Literary Reading are the sub-topics of the Reading and Decoding portion while, Writing strategies, Applications and Conventions are covered under the Writing portion.

    Six major subject areas are tested in this component and they are called strands. The strands are:

    1. Writing Strategies
    2. Writing Applications
    3. Word Analysis
    4. Literary Response and Analysis
    5. Reading Comprehension
    6. English Language Conventions
  3. Question Types and Duration

    There are, in total, 80 multiple-choice questions and a couple of writing tasks in the English paper of the CAHSEE test. Of the 80 questions, 8 are un-scored trial test items. There is no time duration for the test. However, the administrators believe that three or four hours would be enough to complete the test paper. The test is administered in two sessions and a break is given between them.

    The following table provides the break-up of the questions for the different strands:

    Topic What is Tested? No. Of Questions
    Word Analysis Students have to identify the meaning of new words by applying their knowledge of origins of words. They also have to use the new words in appropriate contexts. 7
    Reading Comprehension Students have to read and understand the given passages. 18
    Literary Response and Analysis Students are provided with historical or cultural materials and they are expected to read and analyze the text and answer the given questions. 20
    Writing Strategies Students are expected to write essays that have clarity and focus. 12
    English Language Conventions Students are expected to know the correct use of grammar and mechanics of writing. 15
    Writing Applications Students are expected to write an essay of around 1500 words using their rhetorical skills. 1
  4. Scores

    The scores are scaled to bring equality among the different editions of the test. The scaled scores are released in the range of 275-450 and the passing score is 350. A copy of your score report would be mailed to you within 8 weeks of the test date. The following details would be available in the score report:

    1. General information about you
    2. Your performance in the recent CAHSEE test given as a scaled score
    3. Status information- whether you have passed or failed the test
    4. Your performance in each of the sub-topics or strands and this will contain the number of questions asked and the number you have answered correctly
    5. Your score in the Writing Application
  5. Importance

    The educators in the state of California believe that students should possess grade level skills in Reading, Writing and Math while passing out of high school. To ensure this and enhance a student's achievement in high school, the test was created and introduced.

To Conclude...

The above mentioned five points provides you with the knowledge about the test. English is an easy test as the syllabus pertains to what you have already studied. However, a thorough preparation is essential to attain a passing score.




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