By Katey Garrett

Exeter Union High School has the highest passing rate on the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) among Tulare County schools.

The scores were released by the state's Department of Education earlier this month.

In Exeter, the passing rate between English and math for the CAHSEE exam are nearly equal at 71%. Diane Graziani, Exeter's Deputy Superintendent said, &#8220If students pass, we feel comfortable that we are doing well with the curriculum.”

Graziani said that in previous years, the CAHSEE test did not have the diploma attached to it and since adding the diploma into the mix, students' scores have improved.

&#8220Students are very motivated to pass the CAHSEE,” said Graziani. &#8220They want that diploma.”

The California High School Exit Exam is a test that every high school student in the state of California must pass before being handed a diploma. The test holds the same standards for second language speakers as well as the special education students. All students have four hours to complete the test and those who do not pass on the first try, are given multiple opportunities to re-take it.

Although the test score is not reflected on college applications, students take the test very seriously.

CAHSEE is made up of two parts: one part English and language arts and one part mathematics. The English portion of the test has multiple choice questions and an essay question while the math portion only has multiple choice.

Students must earn a score of at least 350 on each part of the test to pass.

The English difficulty level is targeted towards ninth and 10th graders and includes language arts. The reading portion of the test includes informational reading, literary reading and vocabulary. The writing portion includes writing strategies, applications and conventions.

The mathematics difficulty level is targeted towards sixth and seventh students and includes algebra. The math portion includes data analysis, probability, measurement, number sense, mathematical reasoning, algebra, decimals, percentages and fractions.

To prepare for the CAHSEE, students can attend tutorials. They can also find books, guides and online help so that they can better prepare themselves.

Testing for the CAHSEE begins during a student's sophomore year, in the spring. If a student does not pass the test, he is given numerous opportunities to re-take it. It is common for some students to pass only one portion of the test at a time. If a student passes the English portion but does not score the required 350 on the math, they can re-take the math section when the re-takes are offered.

In addition to the first testing period during their sophomore year, students can also test twice during their junior year and three times during their senior year.

If a student is unable to pass the CAHSEE before the graduation date, they can attend summer school or adult education to prepare for and re-take the test.

Other important tests that students take in high school include, but are not limited to STAR, ACT and SAT. Students ranging from grades two through eleven are required to take the STAR test, while college-bound students take the ACT and SAT, which are college aptitude tests.

Woodlake Union High School

Woodlake High school over all has less then 50% of students passing each section of the exit exams. In the math section of the test 433 students took the test with only 195 students passing. That's 45%. Special education students that took the test were 78 out of that number 12 student's passed. 15% of students passing. 143 ELD learners were tested with 27 of them passing. That's 19% out of the 27. In the English Language Arts section of the test the total amount of students that took this were 423 with 189 students passing. That's only 45% of students. 74 special education students were all so tested with only 6 passing at 8%. ELD students were at 155 with 22 passing at 14%. Numbers have stayed steady since 2005 since there were fewer students who took the test last year.

Farmersville High School

Farmersville has seen an increase in students who have taken the exit exams. In 2006 Farmersville tested 340 students in math. 175 students passed that's 51% of students who took the test. 42 special education students took the math portion with only 8 passing. That's 19% and up from 2005. ELD students were at 142 with 5 passing at 39%. In the English Language Arts section 344 students took the test with 155 passing. That's 45% of students proficient in English. 42 special education students took the test and only 5 students passed that's 12%. 151 ELD students took the test 41 passed that's 27% of ELD students.

Lindsay High School

Officials at Lindsay High School and the Lindsay Unified School District could not be reached for comment.

- Olivie Frye contributed to this report.

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