More than 91 percent of tenth graders in the William S. Hart Union High School District passed the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) on their first try, according to figures released today by the California Department of Education. The performance of Hart District students matches last year’s and far outpaces the performance of their county and state peers.
The passage rate includes students who are English language learners and students in special education, according to David LeBarron, the Hart District’s director of curriculum and assessment.
Hart District students take the CAHSEE for the first time in March of their tenth grade year, along with all other students needing to pass one or both parts of the test. The state figures released today include results for all students taking the CAHSEE.
“We are pleased with the results,” LeBarron commented, “Our pass rate is quite a bit higher than both the state and the county.”
Overall, 88 percent of Hart District students who took the CAHSEE last March passed the English/language arts portion of the test, compared with 75 percent of Los Angeles County students and 77 percent in the state. In math, 89 percent of Hart District students taking the CAHSEE in March passed compared with 75 percent in Los Angeles County and 77 percent in the state.
The graduating class of 2011 was the 6th required to pass the CAHSEE, and less than one percent of District seniors failed to receive their diplomas because they did not pass one or both sections of the exit exam. The district has created a number of intervention programs to help students who do not pass the test the first time they try – primarily English language learners and students with disabilities.
Hispanic or Latino students ran slightly below the Hart District average, with a 77 percent pass rate in English/language arts and an 82 percent pass rate for mathematics. English learners achieved a 48 percent pass rate in English/language arts, but Hart District English learners who had been redesignated as proficient in English achieved a 95 percent pass rate in English/language arts, which is higher than Hart District students who are classified as English-only.
Once students have passed the exit exam, they do not take the test again. Those who fail one or both portions of the test can re-take the exam several times a year until the end of their senior year. Those who complete all of the Hart District course requirements, but do not pass the CAHSEE are allowed to participate in the high school graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate of completion in lieu of a diploma.
The percentage of Hart District tenth graders who pass both parts of the CAHSEE on their first try has remained near the 90 percent mark since the test was first introduced by the state of California. The CAHSEE pass rate is one measure of Adequate Yearly Progress which the federal government uses to assess the quality of education in schools across the nation. It is also used in the calculation of the state’s Academic Performance Index for all high schools.