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CAHSEE English Language Arts Blueprint

English-language arts content standards for the California High School Exit Examination, approved by the State Board of Education on July 9, 2003.

California Reading Content Standards

Grades Nine and Ten with two standards from Grade Eight as noted.
(45 Multiple-choice Items Total)
1.0 Word Analysis, Fluency, and Systematic Vocabulary Development

Students apply their knowledge of word origins to determine the meaning of new words encountered in reading materials and use those words accurately. (7 Multiple-choice Items)

1.1 Identify and use the literal and figurative meanings of words and understand word derivations. (5 Multiple-choice Items)

1.2 Distinguish between the denotative and connotative meanings of words and interpret the connotative power of words. (2 Multiple-choice Items)

1.3 Identify Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology and use the knowledge to understand the origin and meaning of new words (e.g., the word narcissistic drawn from the myth of Narcissus and Echo).

2.0 Reading Comprehension (Focus on Informational Materials) (18 Multiple-choice Items)

Students read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. They analyze the organizational patterns, arguments, and positions advanced. The selections in Recommended Literature, Grades Nine Through Twelve (1990) illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students. In addition, by grade twelve, students read two million words annually on their own, including a wide variety of classic and contemporary literature, magazines, newspapers, and online information. In grades nine and ten, students make substantial progress toward this goal.

Structural Features of Informational Materials

†8.2.1 Compare and contrast the features and elements of consumer materials to gain meaning from documents (e.g., warranties, contracts, product information, instruction manuals). (1 Multiple-choice Items)

2.1 Analyze the structure and format of functional workplace documents, including the graphics and headers, and explain how authors use the features to achieve their purposes. (3 Multiple-choice Items)

2.2 Prepare a bibliography of reference materials for a report using a variety of consumer, workplace, and public documents.

Comprehension and Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text

2.3 Generate relevant questions about readings on issues that can be researched.

2.4 Synthesize the content from several sources or works by a single author dealing with a single issue; paraphrase the ideas and connect them to other sources and related topics to demonstrate comprehension. (3 Multiple-choice Items)

2.5 Extend ideas presented in primary or secondary sources through original analysis, evaluation, and elaboration. (3 Multiple-choice Items)

2.6 Demonstrate the use of sophisticated learning tools by following technical directions (e.g., those found with graphic calculators and specialized software programs and in access guides to World Wide Web sites on the Internet).

Expository Critique

2.7 Critique the logic of functional documents by examining the sequence of information and procedures in anticipation of possible reader misunderstandings. (3 Multiple-choice Items)

2.8 Evaluate the credibility of an author’s argument or defense of a claim by critiquing the relationship between generalizations and evidence, the comprehensiveness of evidence, and the way in which the author’s intent affects the structure and tone of the text (e.g., in professional journals, editorials, political speeches, primary source material). (5 Multiple-choice Items)

3.0 Literary Response and Analysis (20 Multiple-choice Items)

Students read and respond to historically or culturally significant works of literature that reflect and enhance their studies of history and social science. They conduct in-depth analysis of recurrent patterns and themes. The selections in Recommended Literature, Grades Nine Through Twelve illustrate the quality and complexity of the materials to be read by students.

Structural Features of Literature

3.1 Articulate the relationship between the expressed purposes and the characteristics of different forms of dramatic literature (e.g., comedy, tragedy, drama, dramatic monologue). (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.2 Compare and contrast the presentation of a similar theme or topic across genres to explain how the selection of genre shapes the theme or topic.

Narrative Analysis of Grade-Level-Appropriate Text

3.3 Analyze interactions between main and subordinate characters in a literary text (e.g., internal and external conflicts, motivations, relationships, influences) and explain the way those interactions affect the plot. (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.4 Determine characters’ traits by what the characters say about themselves in narration, dialogue, dramatic monologue, and soliloquy. (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.5 Compare works that express a universal theme and provide evidence to support the ideas expressed in each work. (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.6 Analyze and trace an author’s development of time and sequence, including the use of complex literary devices (e.g., foreshadowing, flashbacks). (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.7 Recognize and understand the significance of various literary devices, including figurative language, imagery, allegory, and symbolism, and explain their appeal. (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.8 Interpret and evaluate the impact of ambiguities, subtleties, contradictions, ironies, and incongruities in a text. (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.9 Explain how voice, persona, and the choice of a narrator affect characterization and the tone, plot, and credibility of a text. (2 Multiple-choice Items)

3.10 Identify and describe the function of dialogue, scene designs, soliloquies, asides, and character foils in dramatic literature. (1 Multiple-choice Items)

Literary Criticism

†8.3.7 Analyze a work of literature, showing how it reflects the heritage, traditions, attitudes, and beliefs of its author. (Biographical approach)
(3 Multiple-choice Items: Tasks that assess the three different approaches will be rotated across test forms.)

3.11 Evaluate the aesthetic qualities of style, including the impact of diction and figurative language on tone, mood, and theme, using the terminology of literary criticism. (Aesthetic approach)

3.12 Analyze the way in which a work of literature is related to the themes and issues of its historical period. (Historical approach)

† Eighth-grade content standard

Writing: Grades Nine and Ten

(27 Multiple-choice Items)
1.0 Writing Strategies

Students write clear, coherent, and focused essays. The writing exhibits students’ awareness of audience and purpose. Essays contain formal introductions, supporting evidence, and conclusions. Students progress through the stages of the writing process as needed. (12 Multiple-choice Items)

Organization and Focus

1.1 Establish a controlling impression or coherent thesis that conveys a clear and distinctive perspective on the subject and maintain a consistent tone and focus throughout the piece of writing. (3 Multiple-choice Items)

1.2 Use precise language, action verbs, sensory details, appropriate modifiers, and the active rather than the passive voice. (3 Multiple-choice Items)

Research and Technology

1.3 Use clear research questions and suitable research methods (e.g., library, electronic media, personal interview) to elicit and present evidence from primary and secondary sources.

1.4 Develop the main ideas within the body of the composition through supporting evidence (e.g., scenarios, commonly held beliefs, hypotheses, definitions). (2 Multiple-choice Items)

1.5 Synthesize information from multiple sources and identify complexities and discrepancies in the information and the different perspectives found in each medium (e.g., almanacs, microfiche, news sources, in-depth field studies, speeches, journals, technical documents). (1 Multiple-choice Items)

1.6 Integrate quotations and citations into a written text while maintaining the flow of ideas.

1.7 Use appropriate conventions for documentation in the text, notes, and bibliographies by adhering to those in style manuals (e.g., Modern Language Association Handbook, The Chicago Manual of Style).

1.8 Design and publish documents by using advanced publishing software and graphic programs.

Evaluation and Revision

1.9 Revise writing to improve the logic and coherence of the organization and controlling perspective, the precision of word choice, and the tone by taking into consideration the audience, purpose, and formality of the context.(3 Multiple-choice Items)

2.0 Writing Applications: Genres and Their Characteristics (Essay Item)

Students combine the rhetorical strategies of narration, exposition, persuasion, and description to produce texts of at least 1,500 words each. Student writing demonstrates a command of standard American English and the research, organizational, and drafting strategies outlined in Writing Standard 1.0.

Using the writing strategies of grades nine and ten outlined in Writing Standard 1.0, students:

2.1 Write biographical or autobiographical narratives or short stories (Covered on this exam.):

  1. Relate a sequence of events and communicate the significance of the events to the audience.
  2. Locate scenes and incidents in specific places.
  3. Describe with concrete sensory details the sights, sounds, and smells of a scene and the specific actions, movements, gestures, and feelings of the characters; use interior monologue to depict the characters’ feelings.
  4. Pace the presentation of actions to accommodate changes in time and mood.
  5. Make effective use of descriptions of appearance, images, shifting perspectives, and sensory details.

2.2 Write responses to literature (Covered on this exam.):

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the significant ideas of literary works.
  2. Support important ideas and viewpoints through accurate and detailed references to the text or to other works.
  3. Demonstrate awareness of the author’s use of stylistic devices and an appreciation of the effects created.
  4. Identify and assess the impact of perceived ambiguities, nuances, and complexities within the text.

2.3 Write expository compositions, including analytical essays and research reports (Covered on this exam.):

  1. Marshal evidence in support of a thesis and related claims, including information on all relevant perspectives.
  2. Convey information and ideas from primary and secondary sources accurately and coherently.
  3. Make distinctions between the relative value and significance of specific data, facts, and ideas.
  4. Include visual aids by employing appropriate technology to organize and record information on charts, maps, and graphs.
  5. Anticipate and address readers’ potential misunderstandings, biases, and expectations.
  6. Use technical terms and notations accurately.

2.4 Write persuasive compositions (Covered on this exam.):

  1. Structure ideas and arguments in a sustained and logical fashion.
  2. Use specific rhetorical devices to support assertions (e.g., appeal to logic through reasoning; appeal to emotion or ethical belief; relate a personal anecdote, case study, or analogy).
  3. Clarify and defend positions with precise and relevant evidence, including facts, expert opinions, quotations, and expressions of commonly accepted beliefs and logical reasoning.
  4. Address readers’ concerns, counterclaims, biases, and expectations.

2.5 Write business letters (Covered on this exam.):

  1. Provide clear and purposeful information and address the intended audience appropriately.
  2. Use appropriate vocabulary, tone, and style to take into account the nature of the relationship with, and the knowledge and interests of, the recipients.
  3. Highlight central ideas or images.
  4. Follow a conventional style with page formats, fonts, and spacing that contribute to the documents’ readability and impact.

2.6 Write technical documents (e.g., a manual on rules of behavior for conflict resolution, procedures for conducting a meeting, minutes of a meeting):

  1. Report information and convey ideas logically and correctly.
  2. Offer detailed and accurate specifications.
  3. Include scenarios, definitions, and examples to aid comprehension (e.g., troubleshooting guide).
  4. Anticipate readers’ problems, mistakes, and misunderstandings.

1.0 Written and Oral English Language Conventions

(15 Multiple-choice Items)

Students write and speak with a command of standard English conventions.

Grammar and Mechanics of Writing

1.1 Identify and correctly use clauses (e.g., main and subordinate), phrases (e.g., gerund, infinitive, and participial), and mechanics of punctuation (e.g., semicolons, colons, ellipses, hyphens). (5 items)

1.2 Understand sentence construction (e.g., parallel structure, subordination, proper placement of modifiers) and proper English usage (e.g., consistency of verb tenses). (5 items)

1.3 Demonstrate an understanding of proper English usage and control of grammar, paragraph and sentence structure, diction, and syntax. (5 items)

Manuscript Form

1.4 Produce legible work that shows accurate spelling and correct use of the conventions of punctuation and capitalization.

1.5 Reflect appropriate manuscript requirements, including title page presentation, pagination, spacing and margins, and integration of source and support material (e.g., in-text citation, use of direct quotations, paraphrasing) with appropriate citations.

One Essay – Randomly rotate all categories of writing for each test administration

From standards 2.2 or 2.3
Response to Literature or Analytic Essay (Expository Writing)

From standards 2.1, 2.4, or 2.5
Biography, persuasion, business letter

Note: Strikethroughs within a standard indicate that this particular part of the standard is not to be assessed on the CAHSEE but is still part of the original standard.

Questions:   High School & Physical Fitness Assessment Office | | 916-445-9449
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, November 24, 2015
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