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AAV November 5-6, 2008 Agenda Item 24 Attachment 1

This is an accessible alternative version (AAV) of the November SBE Item 24, Attachment 1. (PPT; 167KB; 20 slides)

2008 CAHSEE Independent Evaluation Report: Overview and Recommendations

Presented to: California State Board of Education
Date: Thursday, November 6, 2008
Presenter: Lauress L. Wise, HumRRO


  • The legislation establishing the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) also called for an independent evaluation (EC 60855)
  • The first contract for the independent evaluation of the CAHSEE began January 2000 and ran through September 2004.
  • HumRRO was awarded a second contract for the CAHSEE evaluation from October 2004 through December 2007.
  • HumRRO was awarded a third contract for the evaluation of the CAHSEE, running from October 2007 through December 2010.
    • This presentation coves preliminary findings in our 2008 Annual Report
    • As required under the initiating legislation, the evaluation includes:
      • Analysis of the impact of the CAHSEE requirement
      • Suggestions for improving the quality of the assessment

Review of Test Quality

  • Independent alignment study
    • Confirmed CAHSEE validity as a measure of mastery of the targeted content standards
    • Showed some improvements over our 2005 study
    • Confirmed accessibility for different student populations (universal design)
    • Suggested areas for further improvement in coverage and depth of knowledge and in accessibility
  • Scoring consistency for the essays
    • Slightly less than last year
  • Score accuracy
    • About the same as last year

2008 Passing Rates

  • Many students who did not graduate in 4 years continued to take the CAHSEE
    • About 3,500 of 35,000 students from the Class of 2006 who had not passed by the end of 2007 took the CAHSEE in 2008 (their 6th year of high school); about 800 passed
    • Over 12,000 of 29,000 students from the Class of 2007 who had not passed, took the CAHSEE again in 2008; over 3,000 passed
      • Note that the number not passing had already dropped from 35,000 to 29,000
      • For both the Class of 2006 and 2007, students in special education are excluded due to the exemption
  • 12th grade passing rates similar to last year
      • 90.4% of students in the Class of 2008 passed the CAHSEE by the end of their senior year.
      • Leaving about 47,000 students (including students with disabilities) who did not pass
      • Passing rates, excluding students with disabilities were 93.7% this year compared to 93.3% in 2007 and 90.4% in 2006
      • Passing rates were lower for some groups
        • 73% for English learners (73%)
        • 54% for students with disabilities (54%)
        • 85% for economically disadvantaged students
        • Also 80% for African American and 86% for Hispanic students
      • Note passing rates exclude dropouts prior to 12th grade who had not yet passed the CAHSEE
  • Increases in 10th and 11th grade passing rates
    • 11th grade (Class of 2009) passing rate increased from 78% to 82%
    • 10th grade (Class of 2010) passing rate increased from 65% to 69%
    • Initial (10th grade) passing rates remained lower for:
      • English learners (30%)
      • Students with disabilities (20%)
      • Low-Income (57%)
      • African American (53%)
      • Hispanic (59%) students

Students Who Did Not Pass

  • We analyzed student questionnaire responses for about 20,000 Class of 2008 students (seniors) who did not pass.
    • Compared 12th grade responses in 2008 to 10th grade responses in 2006 for these same students
    • Compared 10th grade responses in 2006 for these students to responses for 10th grade students in 2006 who did pass the CAHSEE
  • Expectations for Graduation
    • About two-thirds of the students who did not pass still thought they would graduate from high school
    • This percentage increased slightly from 10th to 12th grade 64% to 66%
  • College Plans
    • The percent of students who did not pass who thought they would go to a 4 year college dropped from 32% in 10th grade to 18% in 12th grade
    • At the same time, the percent thinking they would go to a community college rose from 23% to 44%
  • Coverage of the CAHSEE in their classes
    • Students who did not pass were more likely to say in 10th grade that many ELA and math topics on the CAHSEE were not covered in their courses
      • 17% for ELA, 19% for math versus 6% for students who passed
      • 12th grade responses were similar (16% for both ELA and math)
    • Students who did not pass said the CAHSEE questions were more difficult then questions encountered in their courses
      • 40% for ELA, 42% for math versus 14% and 18% for other students
      • In 12th grade, 35% for ELA and 37% for math still said the questions on the CAHSEE were more difficult than those in their classes.

Other (Non-CAHSEE) Trends

  • Drop-out rates could not be compared because of changes in procedures (schools required to supply exit codes for each student leaving)
    • The large number of drop-outs. Overall and for particular demographic groups, identified by the new procedures is a significant concern
    • Grade-to-grade enrollment declines remained about the same and continued to be less than in pre-CAHSEE years.
    • The ratio of graduates to fall 12th grade enrollment dropped 4 percentage points in 2006 from 86.7% down to 82.5% and another 3 percentage points in 2007, down to 79.5%
      • SAT Score means declined slightly in 2007 (2 to 3 points), while ACT score means remained unchanged in 2007.
      • AP participation rates and test scores declined slightly, but remained above pre-CAHSEE levels


  • California should seek ways to encourage students who do not pass in 4 years to continue their studies for one or more additional years. Students who do should be studied to identify programs that help them succeed.
    • For some students, community college options may work better (a different environment)
  • Districts, schools, and IEP teams should make all possible efforts to provide access to the general curriculum to students with disabilities so that these students can obtain the skills needed to pass the CAHSEE. The State Board of Education should establish alternative goals and ways of recognizing the accomplishment of students who cannot meaningfully participate in the general curriculum.
    • Students who do not participate in the general curriculum have little chance of passing the CAHSEE.
  • Curricular goals, possibly including a fifth year of high school, should be studied for English learners who enter U.S. schools during high school. California schools should also find ways to help English learners who enter U.S. schools prior to high school but continue to have difficulty learning English.
    • Set realistic expectations from the start for students entering U.S. schools during high school
    • Find ways of helping students who have not reached English proficiency after several years.
  • Undertake further study to find ways to increase graduation rates for low-income and minority students.
    • Dropout problems extend well beyond the significant
    • Societal cost of dropouts is considerable (Levin)
  • The State Board of Education should initiate a new review of the CAHSEE content requirements. The Board should plan to allow at least 3 years for implementation of changes to the CAHSEE test specifications, including development and field testing of new questions and test forms based on the revised specifications.
    • It has been nearly 10 years since the High School Exit Exam Panel was convened to recommend graduation requirements
    • Significant curriculum changes (particularly 8th grade Algebra)
    • Opportunity to track students who pass the CAHSEE
      • Do most still need remediation for community college work?
Questions:   State Board of Education | 916-319-0827
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, May 26, 2015

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