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CHSPE Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to frequently asked questions about the California High School Proficiency Examination.
What is the CHSPE?

The California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) is a voluntary test that assesses proficiency in basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills taught in public schools. Eligible persons who pass the CHSPE are awarded a Certificate of Proficiency by the California State Board of Education. The test is given in English only.

How can the Certificate of Proficiency be used?

California law requires that the Certificate of Proficiency be equivalent to a high school diploma. A student who receives a Certificate of Proficiency may, with verified parental approval, leave high school early. The Certificate of Proficiency, however, is not equivalent to completing all course work required for regular graduation from high school. If a student is planning to continue his or her studies in a college or university, they should contact the admissions office of the institution they plan to attend so that the student may understand that institution’s admission requirements including whether or not the Certificate of Proficiency will be sufficient for admission.

Who may take the CHSPE?

A person may take the CHSPE only if he or she meets one of the following requirements on the test date:

  • He or she is at least 16 years old, or
  • He or she has been enrolled in the tenth grade for one academic year or longer, or
  • He or she will complete one academic year of enrollment in the tenth grade at the end of the semester during which the CHSPE regular administration (i.e., spring or fall) will be conducted.
When can someone take the CHSPE?

Please visit the CHSPE Registration Web page External link opens in new window or tab. for test dates.

Where can someone take the CHSPE?

There are over 70 test centers throughout California. Some counties do not include a test center and other counties have more than one test center. A list of the counties and test areas may be found on the CHSPE Test Locations Web page External link opens in new window or tab. or in the Information Bulletin External link opens in new window or tab. available on the CHSPE Registration Web page.

How does someone register for the CHSPE?

Individuals must complete and submit a CHSPE Registration Form with proof of eligibility and proper payment. Registration procedures and a registration form are located in the CHSPE Information Bulletin, which can be found on the CHSPE Registration Web page External link opens in new window or tab. or by calling 866-342-4773.

How do students find out about the CHSPE?

California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education requires the principal of each school that includes grades 11 and 12 to distribute to each student in those grades an announcement explaining the CHSPE. Distribution shall be made in sufficient time to enable interested students to meet all examination registration requirements for the fall test of that year. This announcement is available on the CHSPE Administration Web page.

How do students who receive a Certificate of Proficiency affect the dropout rate?

Students who receive a Certificate of Proficiency are not recorded as dropouts on the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS). CHSPE may serve as an alternative to dropping out of school for students who intend to leave school prior to graduation or for students who have insufficient credits to graduate.

How can a district access CHSPE results?

A list of students who passed the CHSPE since April 2004 is available on the CHSPE User Portal Logon page External link opens in new window or tab. . In order to obtain a password that will allow a school district to access this Web site and download school district files, an approved district representative, such as the district testing coordinator, must complete the CHSPE Contact Designation Form External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF) and fax this form to Educational Data Systems (EDS). The fax number is 408-776-7696. EDS will provide the requesting school district representative with a password and downloading procedures through e-mail.

How are the General Educational Development (GED) tests different from the CHSPE?

A person must be eighteen years old to take the GED or, under certain circumstances, a seventeen-year-old may qualify. The GED tests measure a student’s knowledge in five content areas including: language arts, reading; language arts, writing; mathematics; science; and social studies. The tests are given in English, Spanish, and French throughout the United States and in Canada. A High School Equivalency Certificate is issued. For more information on the GED, contact your local adult school, community college, or visit the High School Equivalency Tests Web Page.

How is the California High School Exit Exam different from the CHSPE?

The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is a high school graduation requirement for all public school students beginning in the 2005-2006 school year. The CAHSEE graduation requirement is mandated by California law and does not allow for students to leave high school early if they pass. Students who pass the CAHSEE and want to graduate from high school also must meet all local and state graduation requirements. All California public school students must first take the CAHSEE in the tenth grade. For more information on the CAHSEE, speak to your school counselor and/or go to the CAHSEE Web page.

Questions:   CHSPE Office | chspe@cde.ca.gov | 916-445-9449
Last Reviewed: Friday, August 14, 2015

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