Santee high school sophomores did better on the 2011-2012 high school exit exam than their district, county and state peers, according to figures released Wednesday.
Exam pass rates for both and High Schools improved or stayed the same in 2011-12 compared to 2010-11 sophomore scores in both English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests.
The two Santee high school scored within a point of each other on each test. Santana scored higher in math, with 95 percent of 10th-graders passing last school year, and 94 percent of West Hills students passing. But, West Hills scored higher in ELA, with 92 percent, versus Santana's 91.
Santee high schools also beat the average scores of 87 in math and 82 in ELA- the district ELA score fell below the state average.
The San Diego County pass rates in 2011-2012 were 88 percent for math and 86 percent for English. And the statewide 10th-grade pass rate was 84 percent for math and 83 percent for English. More than 465,000 10th-graders took the test in 2011-2102 in California.
For more results—including breakdowns by race/ethnicity, gender, language fluency and economic status—see the state CAHSEE site.
When juniors and seniors are factored in, the percentage of California students from the Class of 2012 meeting the CAHSEE graduation requirement rose slightly over last year to 95 percent, marking the sixth straight year of improving performance, said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.
“When 95 percent of California students are hitting the mark—despite the tremendous challenges we face and the work we still have to do—there’s an awful lot going right in our public schools,” Torlakson said.
The CAHSEE is given each year to ensure that students who graduate from public high schools demonstrate competency in reading, writing and mathematics. Students who do not pass the CAHSEE in grade 10 have two opportunities in grade 11 and up to five chances in grade 12 to pass the exam.
“While I’m happy about the progress made by the Class of 2012, I still have concerns for the Class of 2013, the Class of 2014, and all the classes that will follow,” Torlakson said. “We have made solid improvement, but schools and districts are facing some unprecedented challenges right now. Overcrowded classrooms, shorter school years, and fewer teachers are in store for us unless we stop the cuts to education funding and begin restoring some of what has been cut in recent years.”
Passed in 1999, the law mandating exit exams for high school students didn’t take full effect until 2006—and had to survive a court challenge. The state Department of Education appealed a May 2006 ruling by an Alameda County Superior Court judge, which struck down the CAHSEE, “ruling that students from disadvantaged schools, the majority of them with low income or recent immigrants, had not been appropriately prepared for the test,” according to Wikipedia. But the state Supreme Court reinstated the exam and upheld the CAHSEE.