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95% meet high school requirement for graduation
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The percentage of high school students in the Class of 2012 passing the California High School Exit Examination rose slightly higher than that of the 2011 graduates.

According to the news release Wednesday from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, 95 percent of those passing the examination required for graduation showed a “slight” increase over the previous year.

This also marks the sixth year in a row that the performance level of the states’ graduating students has improved annually, Torlakson also announced.

The 95 percent represents 424,480 students in the Class of 2012 who successfully passed the English-language arts and the mathematics portions of the California High School Exit Examination, or CAHSEE, by the end of their senior year. That’s a 0.8 percentage increase over 2011, and a jump of 4.6 percent since the Class of 2006 which were the first high school graduating class to take the exam as part of the requirements for graduation.

Torlakson called the results released on Wednesday as preliminary. They were the results of the tests administered in July, October, November and December 2011, as well as tests given in February, March and May of this year. He added that the results also indicate “increased passing rates among most demographic subgroups of students by the end of their senior year,” with the largest gains occurring among African American and Hispanic students.

The increase among African Americans, whose 2012 passing rate was 91.9, was 2.3 percent over the Class of 2011 and 8.2 percent higher than the Class of 2006.

Among Hispanic or Latino students, the Class of 2012 which had a passing rate of 93.1 percent, showed a jump of 1.4 percent from the Class of 2011 and 7.6 percent points over the Class of 2006.

Asian students of the Class of 2012 showed a CAHSEE passing rate of 97.8 percent, an increase of 0.7 percent from the Class of 2011; white students of the Class of 2012 had a passing rate of 98.6 percent or 0.4 of a percentage point from the previous year.

In his message which accompanied the results of the latest CAHSEE, Torlakson stated that “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. 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.”

The California High School Exit Examination, or CAHSEE, is administered each school year to make sure students who graduate from public high schools show that they are competent in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics.

CAHSEE is given starting in the 10th grade so as to give students other chances or opportunities to pass the exam. Students who do not pass it in the 10th grade have two opportunities to do so during the 11th grade, and up to five opportunities in the 12th grade to pass it.