What is the CAHSEE?
law, enacted in 1999, authorized the development of the California
High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), which students in California
public schools would have to pass to earn a high school diploma.
Beginning with the 2005-06 school year, all California public school
students are required to pass the CAHSEE and meet all other state and
local requirements to earn a high school diploma.
The purpose of
the CAHSEE is to improve student achievement in high school and to
help ensure that students who graduate from high school can demonstrate
grade level competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.
What subjects does the CAHSEE cover?
CAHSEE is divided into two parts: English-language arts and
mathematics. Test questions address California content standards that a
High School Exit Examination Standards Panel, appointed by the State
Superintendent of Public Instruction, determined students should master
to graduate from high school.
One part of the CAHSEE addresses state English-language arts content
standards through grade ten. This part of the exam, which consists of
multiple-choice questions and a writing task, has a reading and
decoding section and a writing section. The reading and decoding
section covers vocabulary, informational reading, and literary reading.
This section includes 50 percent literary texts and 50 percent
informational texts. The writing section covers writing strategies,
applications, and conventions. In addition to the multiple-choice
questions, students are asked to complete one writing task on a
specific topic or in response to a literary or informational passage.
The other part of the CAHSEE addresses state mathematics content
standards. It includes statistics, data analysis and probability,
number sense, measurement and geometry, algebra and functions,
mathematical reasoning, and Algebra I. Students must demonstrate
computational skills and a foundation in arithmetic, including working
with decimals, fractions, and percentages. The math part of the exam is
composed entirely of multiple-choice questions.
For more information on the content of the CAHSEE, please see