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Passing Score For Cahsee Essay

CAHSEE Scoring

Your dreams of earning a high school diploma from the US State of California can be realized by passing CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam). The  test format has been designed to assess the basic academic skills that should be possessed by students graduating from public schools in California.  In other words, the State of California utilizes your performance in CAHSEE to assess all the skills and also the knowledge that you should ideally possess in order to be worthy of a high school diploma as per the state standards.

Do you Know the Importance of CAHSEE Scores?

Do not be under the impression that taking this test is an unnecessary burden that has been heaped upon you. Your performance will be good for you only, especially if you are finding it difficult to cope with the skill levels that are considered essential for high school students. The test scores help in segregating those students who are in need of additional coaching and training since they do not possess academic skills of the level that is expected of high school students graduating from California. These students are then subjected to intensive training to help them improve their skill levels if they have not been able to pass CAHSEE until the end of grade twelve.

The performance of high school students in this test is also used for state accountability purposes by calculating the Academic Performance Index. Moreover, it is used for the Adequate Yearly Progress which is required to meet the requirements of the ‘No Child Left Behind’ Act.

Are you Aware of the CAHSEE Test Format?

You could be putting in your best for studying for CAHSEE with the aim of passing it, but you might fail to achieve your aim if you are not aware of the following:

  • Types of questions asked
  • Passing Scores

Both of the above mentioned aspects are indispensable for a good performance in CAHSEE. You will not be able to prepare well if you are not aware of the types of questions asked in the test. At the same time, preparing for the test without knowing the passing scores will be like taking a shot without looking at the target.

The test structure is divided into two parts for evaluating your skills in two major subject areas; English and Math. A brief description of both the parts is given below:

  1. English-Language Arts (ELA)

This part consists of six strands consisting of multiple-choice questions except for the Writing Applications strand.

  1. Word Analysis: 7 questions
  2. Reading Comprehension: 18 questions
  3. Literary Response and Analysis: 20 questions
  4. Writing Strategies: 12 questions
  5. Writing Applications: Essay writing
  6. English Language Conventions: 15 questions

There are a total of 72 questions asked in this part. In addition, there will be 7questions that are trial test items and these questions will not be scored.

Scoring for ELA

The score for ELA is arrived at by considering your responses to the multiple-choice questions and the essay in different proportions. Your essay score accounts for 20 percent of the ELA score and your performance in the multiple-choice questions accounts for 80 percent of the ELA score.

  1. Essay score:   Your essay is scored by two readers. They will score your essay on a point scale that ranges from 1 to 4. The final essay score will be the average of these two scores. You can also receive a NS (non-scorable) essay score if your essay meets any of the following conditions:
    1. it does not address the given topic
    2. it is too short to make any sense or be scored
    3. it has been written in an illegible writing
    4. it has not been written in English

The scores are scaled so as to do away with the differences that may arise due to different editions of CAHSEE. The scale scores for the ELA part range from 275 to 450. You can pass this part only if you score 350 or above.  

  1. Mathematics

The questions for this part of CAHSEE are drawn from the following subject areas:

  1. Probability, Data analysis and Statistics: 12 questions
  2. Number Sense: 14 questions
  3. Algebra and Functions: 17 questions
  4. Measurement and Geometry: 17 questions
  5. Algebra I: 12 questions
  6. Mathematical Reasoning: 8 questions

There are a total of 92 questions in this part out of which 12 questions will be trial questions and they will not be scored.

Scoring for Math

The scoring for the mathematics part is carried out depending upon the questions that have been answered correctly by you. The raw scores are then scaled to a scale score ranging from 275 to 450. The passing score for this part is 350.

You need not pass both the parts in the same administration in order to pass CAHSEE. You can retake the part not passed by you in consecutive administrations. If you want more information about the test format, then you should visit the official website, www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/ for a detailed description of the test format and the policies governing the conduct of the test.

Are you Aware of What the Score Report Contains?

You need to be aware of various aspects related to the score report so that you know what to expect when you see your score report. You will receive the Student and Parent Report in approximately seven weeks from the test date. One copy of the score report will be handed over to the parents of the test-taker and another copy will be filed with the student’s school records. The following will be displayed in the score report:

  • General information about the test taker

  • Information about the test-taker’s performance in the most recent test taken by him. This would be for a single part if the test-taker has taken one part only. This information will be in the form of the scale scores for the part taken.

  • Whether you have passed or not will also be mentioned in the score report. This information will be displayed under the heading ‘Status’ in the score report. Status will be marked as ‘Passed’ if you have scored more than or equal to 350 in the part taken by you; otherwise it will be marked with a ‘Not Passed’. Status for a particular part will be marked as ‘Satisfied Requirement’ if you have taken that part in a previous administration and have passed it.

  • Your performance in each of the strands for each part will also be indicated in the score report. This will be done under two heads. One will be for the number of questions asked in the strand and the other will be for the number of questions in the strand that you have answered correctly.

  • Your Writing Applications score will also be displayed.

Finally, What if you Fail in CAHSEE?
Although, students cannot ignore the amount of hard work, studies and preparation required for passing CAHSEE, this test has not been formulated to put an additional load on high school students. You will be given a fairly high number of opportunities to pass the test if you are not able to pass it in your first attempt.

  1. If you have not been able to pass either one or both parts in grade ten, then you can retake the parts not passed by you up to two times per school year in grade eleven and up to five times per school year in grade twelve.

  2. If you are an adult student, you can retake the parts not passed by you up to three times per school year.

  3. You can avail the facility of undergoing special coaching and training for up to two consecutive academic years after the end of grade twelve if you haven’t been able to pass CAHSEE. 

As can be seen, CAHSEE can be passed comfortably with a preparation schedule that is headed in the right direction with the right amount of hard work and dedication.

What content is covered in the CAHSEE?

The test is divided into two sections: math and English/language arts. The math portion covers academic content standards for grades 6 and 7 and algebra I, including statistics, data analysis and probability, number sense, measurement, algebra and functions, math reasoning, and geometry. The English/language arts portion includes content standards through grade 10, including vocabulary, reading, writing strategies and conventions. In addition to answering multiple-choice questions, students write an essay on a specific topic. It is a pass/fail test that is not timed.

Who takes the test?

Students take the CAHSEE for the first time in the 10th grade. Students must pass both parts of the exam. Once they pass one portion, they have met that requirement; students only need to retake the portion that they did not pass. Students have five additional opportunities to retake the test.

When did the test become a graduation requirement?

The class of 2006 was the first graduating class that had to pass the CAHSEE in order to receive a high school diploma. These students had their first opportunity to take the CAHSEE in the spring of 2004. Nearly 91% of the class of 2006 passed both portions of the CAHSEE.

If it is called an “exit exam,” why do students take it in the 10th grade?

The goal of the test is to make sure that students have the basic skills they will need to do well in the workplace. Starting the test in 10th grade provides enough time to help those students who aren’t able to pass so they can get the help they need before it is too late.

What happens when students don’t pass the test?

Allowing students to take the test in the 10th grade provides many opportunities to pass. Schools are required to give extra help to students who fail the exam by offering tutoring, special courses, summer school or other assistance. Students may take the test up to six times until they pass.

If students repeatedly fail the test, there are still other options available. They can take the General Education Development Test (GED), which is a high school equivalency exam for adults, or they can attend adult school classes to earn a diploma. Students who are at least 16 years old (or who have completed or are about to complete 10th grade) can take the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE), which is similar in format to the CAHSEE. Students who pass the CHSPE can receive a certificate equivalent to a diploma, and passing the test allows them, with parental permission, to leave high school early. Students who are 18 or older, regardless of whether or not they have a high school diploma, can attend a community college in California.

When is the CAHSEE administered?

The California Department of Education provides multiple opportunities for test administration. School districts have some flexibility in setting test administration dates, offering testing dates in the fall, winter, and spring/early summer. You can see the testing schedule on the California Department of Education’s Web site.

Why has California said algebra is important for all students?

Algebra is an important skill for helping students to learn math reasoning — an important skill needed when students enter the workforce, whatever profession they may choose. Algebra used to be an important subject only for students on their way to college, but in today’s economy, all workers need higher levels of mathematical and technological skills. One example is that many trades such as electricians and auto mechanics now require algebra as an entrance requirement for vocational programs.

How will CAHSEE improve school accountability?

Reports of how many students pass the test will be an important focal point for school improvement. All schools in California are ranked according to an Academic Performance Index (API), which shows if schools are making real progress each year. A school’s CAHSEE results will be included among the factors that produce a school’s API. Schools that don’t meet their API growth targets are subject to state sanctions. The CAHSEE results are also used to calculate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as part of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements.

What allowances are made for students with special learning needs?

Special versions of the test are available to help students who have special learning challenges. For example, the test can be administered in braille, audio CD, and large-print format, and when necessary schools will provide a scribe. Students with physical disabilities will be entitled to the same accommodations they have during classroom instruction. State law allows local district school boards to make determinations about these special circumstances.

What allowances are made for students whose first language is not English?

Students must pass the exam in English in order to graduate. However, test variations for English learners have been added to the CAHSEE. During their first 24 months in a California school, English learners receive six months of instruction in reading, writing, and comprehension in English. During this time, these students are still required to take the CAHSEE.

Can I see the test?

Sample questions for the CAHSEE are available online. Look for “released test questions” on the California Department of Education’s Web site.

Do other states require these tests?

High school exit tests are currently required or are being developed in 26 states.

Where can I find the law that created CAHSEE?

The requirements for the exam can be found in Section 60850 of the California Education Code. The law was passed in 1999 by the California State Legislature. Senate Bill 2 (O’Connell) authorized the California High School Exit Exam to ensure that those graduating from high school possess the skills necessary to function as responsible adults.

Thanks to the California Business for Education Excellence Foundation for providing information for this article.

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