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Parent Information

California High School Exit Examination Guide

Notice to Parents, Guardians, and Students
All California public school students, except eligible students with disabilities, must pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) to receive a high school diploma. Students also must meet all other state and local requirements. All students, including English learners, will take the exam for the first time in grade ten. Students who do not pass the exam in grade ten will have more opportunities to retake the part(s) not passed in grades eleven and twelve. Students with disabilities who are eligible for the exemption must still take the CAHSEE in grade ten. This is due to state and federal laws and is not a condition of graduation. To learn more about test dates and guidelines go to the CDE Administrative Documents Web page at

Subjects Covered on the CAHSEE
The exam consists of two parts. The first part includes English-language arts (reading and writing). The second part covers mathematics. All questions are aligned to Californiaís content standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE). The English-language arts portion of the CAHSEE tests California English-language arts content standards through grade ten. The mathematics portion tests mathematics content standards from grades six and seven, and Algebra I. More information about the content standards covered on the exam can be found online. You can download the CAHSEE exam blueprints from the CDE CAHSEE Web page at

Requirements for Passing the CAHSEE
Students must earn a score of 350 or higher on each part of the CAHSEE (English-language arts and mathematics) to pass the exam. Students do not need to pass both parts of the exam during the same test administration to satisfy the CAHSEE requirement.

Students with Disabilities
Eligible students with disabilities with an active individualized education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan can satisfy the CAHSEE requirement by:

  • passing the examination
  • meeting the exemption requirement pursuant to California Education Code (EC) Section 60852.3,
  • receiving a local waiver pursuant to EC Section 60851(c)(1), or
  • receiving a streamlined waiver of EC Section 60851.

Information for students with disabilities can be found on the CDE Students with Disabilities - CAHSEE Exemptions and Waivers Web page at

EC Section 60852.3 provides an exemption from meeting the CAHSEE requirement as a condition of receiving a diploma of graduation. To be eligible students with disabilities must have an IEP or a Section 504 plan. The IEP or Section 504 plan must state that the student is scheduled to receive a high school diploma. It must also state that the student has satisfied or will satisfy all other state and local requirements for high school graduation, on or after July 1, 2009. The exemption from meeting the CAHSEE requirement ends June 30, 2015. The State Board of Education (SBE) can extend the exemption one additional year if needed to implement the alternative means assessment.

The CAHSEE regulations specify accommodations and modifications that students with disabilities must be permitted to use if specified in the studentís IEP or Section 504 plan. The IEP or plan must specify that these modifications or accommodations can be used on the CAHSEE, standardized testing, or for use during classroom instruction and assessments. Students who use an accommodation and earn a score of 350 or higher have passed that part of the CAHSEE. Students who use a modification and earn the equivalent of a passing score on one or both parts of the CAHSEE have not passed. However, to meet the CAHSEE requirement, a principal may request a local waiver of the CAHSEE requirement from their local school board.

The SBE has adopted the CAHSEE Streamlined Waiver for Eligible Students with Disabilities. This waiver is another option for eligible students with disabilities to satisfy the CAHSEE requirement. The request can be made by an LEA or special education local plan area (SELPA) on behalf of eligible students with disabilities to waive the CAHSEE requirement as a condition of graduation. Students must meet a number of requirements to be eligible. More information about this waiver and criteria to qualify can be found on the CDE Waiver Policies Web page at

Test Variations for Students who are English Learners
Students who are English learners must be allowed to take the CAHSEE with certain test variations. These apply if used regularly in the classroom. For example, English learners must be permitted to hear the test directions in their primary language or use a translation glossary.
Students who are English learners are required to take the CAHSEE in grade ten with all other grade ten students. During their first 24 months in a California school, English learners are to receive 6 months of instruction in reading, writing, and comprehension in English (EC Section 60852). During this time, they are still required to take the CAHSEE. All students must pass the CAHSEE in English to receive their high school diploma.