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80% plus pass exit exams in Manteca Unified on initial try
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Manteca Unified 10th graders who took the 2014 California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) in March showed “slightly higher passing rates” in both English Language Arts and Math when compared to the overall San Joaquin County and state passing rates.

The district’s overall rates are between 81 and 83 percent, with specific high schools showing 86 percent passing rates, according to the CAHSEE results released recently.

“The district has reached a point where a large majority of its students pass the CAHSEE during their first attempt as 10th graders,” noted district public information officer Victoria Brunn.

The state-mandated exit exam for high school students is administered every year since 2006 to gauge the college-readiness of graduating seniors. Its purpose is “to ensure students who graduate from public high schools demonstrate competency in reading, writing, and mathematics.”

Students can start taking the test while in 10th grade. If they don’t pass the first time, they have two opportunities to try again in their junior year, and up to five chances during their senior year.

The percentage of graduating students from the Class of 2014 who met the CAHSEE requirement was an estimated 95.5 percent, (a total of 417,960) which is on par with the Class of 2013 figures. However, the numbers indicate a 5.1 percent jump from the test results in 2006.

Statewide, the 95.5 percent passing rate for the Class of 2014 matched the record high passage rate from last year, according to the report from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

“Dedicated educators have worked hard in difficult times to prepare students for college and careers, but we must keep striving for even higher levels of achievement so all students have the skills, knowledge, and tools they need to be successful,” Torlakson said, commenting on the record-high results.

That is exactly what Manteca Unified is aiming for, Brunn stated.

“We are consistently looking at ways to improve our curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of our students,” she said. “The district continues to focus on providing resources and interventions for groups of students who struggle with passing CAHSEE so that every student has the opportunity to pass sometime during their high school years.”

She pointed out, however, that a better indicator of competency and college readiness of Manteca Unified’s graduating students is to look at the cumulative graduation rates. The district’s overall rate is 92 percent with all comprehensive high schools well into the 90+ range, Brunn stated. Figures compiled by the district show the following graduation rates of each comprehensive high school in the district: East Union – 97.1 percent; Lathrop High School – 96.9 percent; Weston Ranch High – 95.2 percent; Manteca High – 95.0 percent; and Sierra High – 94.9 percent.

Passing the exit exam is one of several state and local graduation requirements for all students. Exam results are posted on the California Department of Education website under CAHSEE 2013-14 Summary Results page. However, individual student exam results are confidential and are not posted on the Internet.