SPHS students performing well on exit exam

August 25, 2006
Santa Paula High School

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell this week released the results of the 2005-06 California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).

By Brian D. WilsonSanta Paula TimesState Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell this week released the results of the 2005-06 California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE).Santa Paula High School sophomores, juniors and seniors had higher percentages than the statewide and County results. Statewide 61 percent of those taking the English test passed while Santa Paula High School had a 64 percent passing rate. In math the state results were 59 percent passing as compared to 71 percent for SPHS.Ventura County had a total of 67 percent passing the math portion of the test and 66 percent for the English test.Santa Paula Union High School District Superintendent Dr. David Gomez says they’re still analyzing the data to determine where their strengths and weaknesses are. The District is already taking steps to increase the passing rate and better student achievement. They’ve added a seventh period to the school day for students who need extra help. They also have Saturday classes and are encouraging students to take advantage of this help.Dr. Gomez says they’ve contracted with a company which provides software so teachers can bring up student data on their classroom computers to help them adjust curriculum to meet individual needs. “We’ve also contracted with a company called ETS to continue efforts with curriculum alignment and staff development,” he said. “Overall, we feel our students are doing well when you compare us with California or Ventura County. The staff and board feels we could do much better. Our big effort in the next three years is to just focus on the standards.”He says more students have reached proficient levels this year when looking at the STAR test, but they getting more and more new, non-English speaking students and they are having a real struggle. This year the high school has about 100 more English-learners. “We’re happy to help them but it does impact what we do and how we do it,” Gomez said. “But, I can pretty much guarantee that we will continue to improve, at least that’s our goal.”
“I have always known that our students could rise to the challenge of higher expectations.” O’Connell said. “I am proud of the ongoing rate of student success on the exit exam. The vast majority of the class of 2007 and the class of 2008 have already passed the exit exam and, at this pace, we are on track toward a passing rate greater than that of the class of 2006.”Passage of the CAHSEE, which assesses student mastery of state content standards in ELA and mathematics, became a California graduation requirement this year for all public school high school students.“The exit exam is designed to ensure that all students graduate with at least the basic level of knowledge and skills needed in the workplace and in life,” O’Connell said. “The exam also shines a light on students who are struggling so they can get the targeted assistance they need to succeed. I am pleased that the majority of students are successfully passing the exam, but I remain troubled by the persistence of the achievement gap among several of our subgroups.The CAHSEE is only one of the many requirements in California public schools needed for graduation. School districts also impose local requirements that must be met before students are allowed to graduate.Students are required to take the CAHSEE for the first time in the tenth grade. During the 2005-06 school year, more than 480,000 tenth graders took the CAHSEE. Students who do not pass the CAHSEE as tenth graders are given additional opportunities during high school to pass the exam.This school year, twelfth grade students in the class of 2007 who have not yet passed will have up to three more opportunities to take the exam during their senior year. Nearly $70 million has been allocated in the state budget specifically to assist those students in the class of 2007 still struggling to pass the CAHSEE.

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