Olympian supports CAHSEE suspension

We at The Olympian believe that the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), is a stressful, time-consuming test that does not have the ability to show a student’s true potential, and should be abolished for good. If you need extra help studying for an exam then get a tutor to help you.

The CAHSEE, a standardized test covering the subjects of mathematics and English-language arts, was a graduation requirement for students at all California public high schools. Unless a student has a considerable disability meeting the test exemption requirements, a passing score in both portions of the test are needed to earn a high school diploma.

The purpose of the CAHSEE, as stated by the California Department of Education website, is “to significantly improve student achievement in public high schools and to ensure that students who graduate from public high schools can demonstrate grade level competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.”

Although the test was founded with seemingly honorable intentions, it has become more of a nuisance that an actual assessments of a student’s true potential. At CVHS, the pass rates consistently exceeded 90 percent. Many claim it is not challenging enough to determine if a student’s math and English-language skills are sharp enough to enter the workforce.

Due to these concerns as well as many others, a bill has been signed by California Governor Jerry Brown temporarily abolishing the CAHSEE for the classes of 2015-2018, allowing many high school  seniors with only their failing CAHSEE grade in the way of graduation the receive their diplomas.

The test has been suspended so it can be revised so it can hopefully better reflect a student’s true potential, as well as the level of math and English-language arts competency expected of young people in the workforce today.

Although testing can be a useful gage of a student’s learning progress, and can make sure students are prepared for the workforce, we at The Olympian believe it is primarily time consuming, expensive, stressful, and unfair.

An entire day is dedicated to the taking of the CAHSEE, which causes students to loose valuable instruction time.

There are also many other graduation requirements needed to receive a high school diploma in California, passing grades being one of them. Students work hard to achieve passing grades for four long years, and they are a better indication of readiness for graduation than a single standardized test. It is unfair to hold back a student who meets every other graduation requirement from getting a diploma solely based on one standardized test score.

The CAHSEE also causes unnecessary additional stress to students. High schoolers are already required to take a plethora of other standardized tests including the SBAC, PLAN, PSAT, SAT, and ACT. With all these huge tests looming overhead, the CAHSEE is an unneeded addition.

The test is also unfair to poor districts, students with poor backgrounds, English Language learners, and those with learning disabilities not severe enough to meet the exemption requirement. The test is uniform, but everyone’s education is different.

In addition, the test was out of date and no longer in line with what is being taught at California public schools. The implementation of common core curriculum was not reflected in the test.

Although the proposed test revisions will fix this problem, we at The Olympian believe that all in all, that the CAHSEE is not a valid gauge of student success, and should be abolished for good.

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