Your dreams of earning a high school diploma from the US State of California can be realized by passing CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). The test format has been designed to assess the basic academic skills that should be possessed by students graduating from public schools in California. In other words, the State of California utilizes your performance in CAHSEE to assess all the skills and also the knowledge that you should ideally possess in order to be worthy of a high school diploma as per the state standards.
Do you Know the Importance of CAHSEE Scores?
Do not be under the impression that taking this test is an unnecessary burden that has been heaped upon you. Your performance will be good for you only, especially if you are finding it difficult to cope with the skill levels that are considered essential for high school students. The test scores help in segregating those students who are in need of additional coaching and training since they do not possess academic skills of the level that is expected of high school students graduating from California. These students are then subjected to intensive training to help them improve their skill levels if they have not been able to pass CAHSEE until the end of grade twelve.
The performance of high school students in this test is also used for state accountability purposes by calculating the Academic Performance Index. Moreover, it is used for the Adequate Yearly Progress which is required to meet the requirements of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act.
Are you Aware of the CAHSEE Test Format?
You could be putting in your best for studying for CAHSEE with the aim of passing it, but you might fail to achieve your aim if you are not aware of the following:
- Types of questions asked
- Passing Scores
Both of the above mentioned aspects are indispensable for a good performance in CAHSEE. You will not be able to prepare well if you are not aware of the types of questions asked in the test. At the same time, preparing for the test without knowing the passing scores will be like taking a shot without looking at the target.
The test structure is divided into two parts for evaluating your skills in two major subject areas; English and Math. A brief description of both the parts is given below:
- English-Language Arts (ELA)
This part consists of six strands consisting of multiple-choice questions except for the Writing Applications strand.
- Word Analysis: 7 questions
- Reading Comprehension: 18 questions
- Literary Response and Analysis: 20 questions
- Writing Strategies: 12 questions
- Writing Applications: Essay writing
- English Language Conventions: 15 questions
There are a total of 72 questions asked in this part. In addition, there will be 7 questions that are trial test items and these questions will not be scored.
Scoring for ELA
The score for ELA is arrived at by considering your responses to the multiple-choice questions and the essay in different proportions. Your essay score accounts for 20 percent of the ELA score and your performance in the multiple-choice questions accounts for 80 percent of the ELA score.
- Essay score: Your essay is scored by two readers. They will score your essay on a point scale that ranges from 1 to 4. The final essay score will be the average of these two scores. You can also receive a NS (non-scorable) essay score if your essay meets any of the following conditions:
- it does not address the given topic
- it is too short to make any sense or be scored
- it has been written in an illegible writing
- it has not been written in English
The scores are scaled so as to do away with the differences that may arise due to different editions of CAHSEE. The scale scores for the ELA part range from 275 to 450. You can pass this part only if you score 350 or above.
The questions for this part of CAHSEE are drawn from the following subject areas:
- Probability, Data analysis and Statistics: 12 questions
- Number Sense: 14 questions
- Algebra and Functions: 17 questions
- Measurement and Geometry: 17 questions
- Algebra I: 12 questions
- Mathematical Reasoning: 8 questions
There are a total of 92 questions in this part out of which 12 questions will be trial questions and they will not be scored.
Scoring for Math
The scoring for the mathematics part is carried out depending upon the questions that have been answered correctly by you. The raw scores are then scaled to a scale score ranging from 275 to 450. The passing score for this part is 350.
You need not pass both the parts in the same administration in order to pass CAHSEE. You can retake the part not passed by you in consecutive administrations. If you want more information about the test format, then you should visit the official website, www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/ for a detailed description of the test format and the policies governing the conduct of the test.
Are you Aware of What the Score Report Contains?
You need to be aware of various aspects related to the score report so that you know what to expect when you see your score report. You will receive the Student and Parent Report in approximately seven weeks from the test date. One copy of the score report will be handed over to the parents of the test-taker and another copy will be filed with the student’s school records. The following will be displayed in the score report:
- General information about the test taker
- Information about the test-taker’s performance in the most recent test taken by him. This would be for a single part if the test-taker has taken one part only. This information will be in the form of the scale scores for the part taken.
- Whether you have passed or not will also be mentioned in the score report. This information will be displayed under the heading ‘Status’ in the score report. Status will be marked as ‘Passed’ if you have scored more than or equal to 350 in the part taken by you; otherwise it will be marked with a ‘Not Passed’. Status for a particular part will be marked as ‘Satisfied Requirement’ if you have taken that part in a previous administration and have passed it.
- Your performance in each of the strands for each part will also be indicated in the score report. This will be done under two heads. One will be for the number of questions asked in the strand and the other will be for the number of questions in the strand that you have answered correctly.
- Your Writing Applications score will also be displayed.
Finally, What if you Fail in CAHSEE?
Although, students cannot ignore the amount of hard work, studies and preparation required for passing CAHSEE, this test has not been formulated to put an additional load on high school students. You will be given a fairly high number of opportunities to pass the test if you are not able to pass it in your first attempt.
- If you have not been able to pass either one or both parts in grade ten, then you can retake the parts not passed by you up to two times per school year in grade eleven and up to five times per school year in grade twelve.
- If you are an adult student, you can retake the parts not passed by you up to three times per school year.
- You can avail the facility of undergoing special coaching and training for up to two consecutive academic years after the end of grade twelve if you haven’t been able to pass CAHSEE.
As can be seen, CAHSEE can be passed comfortably with a preparation schedule that is headed in the right direction with the right amount of hard work and dedication.