By Nancy Gutierrez
Results from the California High School Exit Exam, taken at the start of this semester by Exeter Union High School sophomores, are in and Principal Don Brinkman said they were positive.
"We did wonderfully," he said. "The very first time students took the test only 46 percent passed. Now 76 percent passed. There was a dramatic increase."
In July 2003 the state legislature voted to postpone using the CAHSEE as a requirement for graduation until 2006. Current sophomores will be required to pass the CAHSEE by their senior year or they will not receive their diploma.
More than half of the Class of 2006 has passed the math and English language arts assessments. At Exeter Union High School 79 percent, or 200 students out of 254, passed the math portion and 79 percent passed the English assessment. At Kaweah High School 21 percent passed the math portion and 16 percent passed English language arts. Results from the 2001 CAHSEE taken by EUHS students showed that just 43 percent passed the math portion and 74 percent passed English language arts.
Brinkman said students had to receive a score of 350 to pass the exam. In addition, No Child Left Behind legislation required that 11.2 percent of the students pass the exam in order for the school to meet Academic Yearly Progress (AYP) report goals. Brinkman said more than 45 percent of the students who passed the math exam scored above 375.
"There were a bunch that scored over 400," Brinkman said.
In the English language arts assessment 55 percent had a score of 375 and 116 students scored above 400 points.
"The kids really did a fabulous job," Brinkman said. "They are required to pass the exam to graduate so there is an incentive to do the best they can."
This year's CAHSEE also had several changes from the initial assessment that made the test less stressful for students. Instead of three days the test was shortened to two and there was one less essay question in the English assessment. The state also created study guides for the exam that contained math and English practice questions.
"The students had the opportunity to practice," said Brinkman. "But they had to study individually at home."