Understanding the Details of CAHSEE

Understanding CAHSEE in 7 Easy Steps

According to the existing legislation, no public high school student in California gets his/her diploma without passing the High School Exit exam or CAHSEE. So, what is this test all about and what does it measure? Why is it important? Find out your answers to all these essential questions and more in this article.

The California High School Exit Examination - An Introduction

The California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) is a mandatory test conducted for all the public high school students in the state of California (students with certain disabilities are exempted.). It was conceived and developed to improve student performance in the public education system and also to ensure that those who pass out from high school possess and display skills and knowledge appropriate to the education they have received so far.

  • The test is conducted in the key academic areas and skills of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. The test content is based on the state-approved syllabus/content through high school grade ten.

  • The test is not timed, and is administered in two sections - the English-Language Arts (ELA) part and the Mathematics part.

  • All parts of the test should be taken only in English.

  • It is administered in the paper and pencil-based format only.

  • All important information about this test is available online at the CAHSEE homepage (http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/).

CAHSEE exam Essentials in Seven Easy Steps

When preparing for the CAHSEE, it is important that you have access to all essential information about it. Listed below are seven easy steps that can help you learn the vital facts about the this test:

  1. Get to know about the test purpose and objectives: You cannot possibly start preparing for a test without understanding its objectives and purpose. As stated earlier, the CAHSEE is used as a measure of improving students' academic achievement in public education system, and also to ensure that students pass out of high school with knowledge levels and skills appropriate to the formal education they have received so far. Learning the objectives of this exam can help you focus on the relevant aspects when you prepare.

  2. Learn when you can take the test: Each student gets an adequate number of chances for passing the test. The students take CAHSEE during their tenth grade for the first time. If they do not clear the test, or parts of the test, they may further take up only the required sections and pass them in their 11th and 12th grades.

  3. Learn about the test format and test pattern: The test is administered only in the paper-based format. The test is divided into two sections, which are conducted separately on two successive days. While the English-Language Arts (ELA) section is administered on day one, the Mathematics section is administered on day two.

  4. Find out what each section contains. The following are the test contents of CAHSEE:

    • CAHSEE English-Language Arts section (ELA) covering syllabus through grade ten:
      • The Reading section covering vocabulary, comprehension, analytical abilities, and decoding.
      • Writing section covering writing methods along with applications, proficiency and familiarity with the conventions of language usage, and the knowledge of English grammar, spellings, and punctuation.
    • CAHSEE Mathematics section covering grade six and seven appropriate content plus Algebra I content. This includes questions from topics like Functions, Measurement, Geometry, Numbers, Statistics, Probability, Data Analysis, and Mathematical reasoning.

    For more information, you may refer to the exam blueprints and study guides available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/resources.asp.

  5. Find out the types of questions asked in the test: Most of the CAHSEE questions are of multiple-choice type, especially in the CAHSEE Math test. In the ELA section, you also find writing tasks included, where students are expected to provide descriptive answers.

  6. Get to know the total number of questions asked and how they are divided within each section: While there are 45 questions included in the Reading part of the CAHSEE ELA section, 28 questions are included in the Writing part of the ELA section; one being an essay question and 27 of multiple-choice type. There are 92 questions included in the CAHSEE Mathematics section. A more detailed break-up of the question items is given below:

    The ELA section:

    • 7 questions from the Word Analysis part
    • 18 question items from the Reading Comprehension area
    • 20 question items from the Literary Response Analysis area
    • 12 questions from the Writing Methods and Strategies part
    • 15 items from the Writing Conventions part
    • Single question requiring a descriptive answer on the Writing Application area

    The Math section:

    • 12 questions from Algebra I
    • 17 questions from Algebra and Functions
    • 8 question items from Mathematical reasoning
    • 17 question items from Measurement and Geometry
    • 14 items from Number Sense
    • 12 items from Statistics, Probability, and Data Analysis
  7. Gather information about the scoring scale and when the scores would be available: Each section of the test is scored individually, and the essay question is scored on a scale of 1- 4. The section-wise scores are then converted onto a scale of 275-400. A minimum of 350 on the scale is required to be announced passed. The score reports include information on the individual part scores, sectional scores, and the total test scores.
    The scores of CAHSEE are made available approximately seven to ten weeks after the test date. The scores reports are sent to the schools from where students may collect the same.

To sum up, this exam is a critical test for all public school students in the state of California. It not only helps you better your performance and skills, and get you the coveted diploma, but also ensures that you really know your subjects, so that you may pursue academics further!