By Declan Chin
California public high school students will have one less test to worry about now that Governor Jerry Brown has signed Senate Bill 172, which suspends the administration of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE). The CAHSEE, a test taken by all high school sophomores, has been a graduation requirement since 2006.
When the law goes into effect on January 1, current 8th graders, freshmen, and sophomores will no longer have to take the exam to receive a diploma. In addition, students from the graduating class of 2004 that did not pass the CAHSEE will receive a high school diploma, so long as all other graduation requirements were met.
The bill was originally proposed by the State Senator Carol Liu. Her goal with the bill was to move the curriculum away from state standards and move towards Common Core.
“The CAHSEE should be a basic requirement to graduate,” freshman Uma Hornish said. “The test is fairly simple and evaluates not just how well you have been doing, but also shows whether your school is meeting standards or not. In the future, the test should probably be modified to align with Common Core methods and standards.”
The California graduating classes of 2013 had an average pass rate of 73.8%, according to SPUSD coordinator of Testing and Categorical Programs Kim Kadletz. But with 98% of SPHS sophomores passing both sections last year, the removal of the CAHSEE will not have much effect on the future graduation rate at South Pasadena.
“As a freshman, I don’t know much about the CAHSEE so I can’t say I don’t agree with its standards,” freshman Rachel Lu said. “However, I think postponing the exit exam is a good idea, because high school students’ days are already filled with quizzes and tests which lead to a lot of stress already, not to mention the new standardized common core tests.”
The bill is only a temporary solution that has suspended the test for the next three years, and a new standardized test is likely in the works. However, it is unclear whether or not the new test will be created within the three year suspension or not. According to the LA Times, Governor Jerry Brown stated that the new test could be ready as early as next year, or it could be still be a ways away.