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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
February 18, 2020

Dear Chief Examiners and Testing Center Administrators:


This letter provides important information about ownership, storage, and access to California High School Equivalency (HSE) records. The HSE program is a state, rather than local, program. Unlike high school diplomas issued by the local board, HSE certificates and official score reports may only be issued by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (see Education Code [EC] Section 51420).

State law requires that the California Department of Education (CDE), not the local testing center, maintain a permanent record of all California HSE test results and certificates issued (see EC sections 51422 and 51424). Moreover, the HSE test may be administered only by a testing center that has been approved by the CDE (see EC section 51420(b)). In order to obtain and maintain CDE approval, each testing center must acknowledge and agree that all HSE testing records in California are being held on behalf of the CDE and will be provided to the CDE upon request. The HSE testing records covered by this acknowledgement do not include records of HSE preparation programs that the local testing center administers.

Currently, the HSE vendors/scoring contractors provide the CDE with a set of results for each examinee who has taken all or a portion of an HSE test. However, local HSE testing centers were responsible for providing results to the CDE in the past. In the event that the CDE discovers historical HSE records that remain solely in the possession of individual HSE testing centers or adult education programs, copies of all such historical records will be required to be provided to the CDE in order that they can be incorporated into the state’s permanent record collection.

Please remember that HSE transcripts and any other form of information (including, but not limited to, unofficial score reports, certificates, microfilm, microfiche, CDs, electronic drives, index cards, etc.) related to examinee scores are the property of the CDE. If a testing center no longer wishes to house such HSE testing records, please contact the CDE HSE office by email at to make arrangements to catalog and transfer possession of these vital records to the CDE so that test takers may continue to access their records.

For further information regarding this topic, please contact the Proficiency, Equivalency, and Fitness Testing Office by phone at 916-445-9438 or by email at

Don Killmer,
State HSE Administrator
Proficiency, Equivalency, and Fitness Testing Office

Last Reviewed: Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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