Pass rate is higher than both state and county
Nearly 90 percent of tenth graders in the William S. Hart Union High School District pass the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) on their first try, according to figures released today by the California Department of Education. That figure includes English language learners and students in special education, who also must pass the exit exam in order to earn their high school diplomas, according to Vicki Engbrecht, the Hart District’s director of curriculum and assessment.
Every tenth grader takes the CAHSEE for the first time in March, with a make-up test in May for those who were absent at the March testing and for high school seniors seeking one more chance to pass the exam. The state figures released today include results from both the March and May test cycles. “We are pleased with the results,” Engbrecht commented. “Our pass rate is quite a bit higher than both the state and the county.”
Overall, 89 percent of Hart District students passed the English/language arts portion of the test in 2006, compared with 73 percent of Los Angeles County tenth graders and 77 percent in the state. In math, 88 percent of Hart District students passed the first time compared with 70 percent in Los Angeles County and 75 percent in the state.
The graduating class of 2006 was the first required to pass the CAHSEE, and only 29 Hart District students failed to receive diplomas because they did not pass one or more sections of the exit exam. The district has created a number of intervention programs to help students who do not pass the test the first time they try—primarily English language learners and students in special education. Every comprehensive high school in the Hart District achieved a pass rate in the 80 to 90-plus percent range. The number of students taking the test at Bowman and Learning Post high schools was too small to translate into a meaningful percentage rate, and Academy of the Canyons does not have a tenth grade.
Once students have passed the exit exam, they do not take the test again. Those who fail one or both portions of the test can re-take the exam several times a year until the end of their senior year. Those who complete all of their course requirements in the Hart District but do not pass the CAHSEE are allowed to participate in high school graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate of completion in lieu of a diploma.
The percentage of Hart District tenth graders who pass both parts of the CAHSEE on their first try has remained near the 90 percent mark since the test was first introduced by the state of California. The CAHSEE pass rate is one measure of Adequate Yearly Progress which the federal government uses to assess the quality of education in schools across the nation.