Senate bill 712 suspends the CAHSEE

Students no longer have to take the CAHSEE to graduate high school


photo via under Creative Commons license

To some students, the CAHSEE took up unnecessary class time.

Monika Petrosyan, Magazine Editor

On Oct. 7, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 712 which suspends the administration of the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), a test that all high school sophomores once had to take in order to receive a diploma upon graduating high school. The law will not take effect until Jan. 1.

According to the California Department of Education, the law requires that all students who graduated high school in the 2003-04 school year and on to be granted a diploma if all other local and state graduation requirements, aside from passing the CAHSEE, were met.

The CAHSEE will not be administered for the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years.

The fact that the test will no longer be a requirement has upset some sophomores who have been studying since the start of the school year. Sophomore Angela Karadolian has been taking a Content Readiness class at Clark which has course material designed to help students pass the CAHSEE. “When I found out that the test wasn’t going to be administered anymore, I was angry because of all the time I wasted,” Karadolian said. “I wanted to take Publications but was forced to take the Content Readiness class instead,” she said.

Some students are happier than others upon hearing the news of the suspension. “I was nervous for the test and thought that I was going to fail,” said sophomore Sera Hovhannisyan, who now isn’t feeling the pressure of having to pass the test.

The new law has also bothered juniors who took the test last year. Junior Christian De La Cruz felt “infuriated” when he learned about the new law. “It was a waste of time,” De La Cruz said. “Studying for the CAHSEE made me almost get a C in my classes.”

“Like the PSAT, SAT and the ACT, the CAHSEE made me nervous,” De La Cruz said, “but now I realize it was all for nothing.”

Because the CAHSEE tested students on English and math, it’s removal has affected teachers as well. Sophomore English teacher Diana McGrath has “mixed emotions” about the situation. “We have been buying into the value of the test for a long time and when they switch it up, it makes us question why we were doing it in the first place,” McGrath said. “It took up class time.”

McGrath’s course guidelines will not drastically change because of the CAHSEE. “I had students do practice grammar tests and made them write four types of essays that could have been on the CAHSEE,” McGrath said. “I don’t know if I will change that lesson.”

McGrath said that she will still teach her students the grammar and writing skills they need. “There will be no more practice tests but there is value in knowing how to write the essays,” McGrath said.