California High School Proficiency Exam
|Type||Paper-based, early-exit exam|
|Developer / administrator||California State Board of Education|
|Knowledge / skills tested||Mathematics, English-language arts (reading and writing)|
|Purpose||Early-exit from high school|
|Score / grade range||250–450 (multiple-choice) and 1-5 (writing).|
|Countries / regions||California|
|Prerequisites / eligibility criteria||Age 16+ or enrolled in at least two semesters of 10th grade|
The California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) is an early, high school-exit exam offered in California. Testers who pass the CHSPE receive a Certificate of Proficiency, or legal diploma equivalent, from the California State Board of Education. All individuals and institutions subject to California law that require a high school diploma must accept the certificate as a requirement satisfaction. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management has ruled it acceptable in federal civilian employment applications, and the U.S. Department of Education, including Federal Student Aid, recognizes the CHSPE as a high school diploma equivalent in financial aid applications.
Testers must be at least 16 years old or enrolled in the 10th grade for at least two semesters to take the CHSPE. There is no upper age limit. Testers must pay $130 (2017-2018) by the regular registration deadline or more if late, and sit during one or more of the three exam dates offered a year.
The exam tests individuals based on the high school curriculum in California, which may or may not be similar to curriculum in other states. Though accepted within the state and federal offices, testers must check to see if their college of choice outside of California will accept the test results. Another option for CHSPE test-takers is to enroll in a community college and transfer to their university of choice after two years. Those who have taken the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), required of all high school students to graduate in California, will find the CHSPE similar in format, but with a longer exam and more difficult questions.
The CHSPE tests mathematics and English-Language Arts (reading and writing) ability. The English-Language Arts section includes grammar and vocabulary questions, and also asks the examinee to write an essay. The math section assesses students on geometry, algebra, and pre-algebra. Testers have three and a half hours to complete the exam, and are free to divide their time as they wish between the two sections. Because the math and English sections are graded separately and can be passed separately, some students can sit for the exam twice, with three and a half hours for the math section and three and a half hours for English.
The CHSPE mathematics section has 50 multiple-choice questions broken into 4 content clusters: number sense and operations; patterns, relationships, and algebra; data, statistics, and probability; and geometry and measurement. Testers must score at least 350 within a range of 250–450 to pass the math section.
The CHSPE English-language arts section has two subtests of reading and language (writing).
The reading subtest has 84 multiple-choice questions broken into seven content clusters: initial understanding; interpretation; critical analysis; strategies; synonyms; multiple meaning words; and context clues. Testers must score at least 350 within a range of 250–450 to pass the reading subtest.
Language with writing
The language subtest has 48 multiple-choice questions broken into six content clusters: capitalization; usage; punctuation; sentence structure; pre-writing; content and organization, in addition to a writing subtask. Testers must score at least 350 within a range of 250–450 on the language subtest, in addition to at least a 2.5 within a score range of 1-5 on the writing subtask to pass the English-language arts section.
CHSPE vs. GED
The CHSPE is only given in English, and targeted at homeschoolers and students who want to legally exit high school before 18. Others are entertainment or agriculture employees who prefer to start working at an earlier age.
In contrast, the GED is given in English, Spanish, and French.
Upon passing the exam, testers receive a legal diploma equivalent and official transcript containing a score report, which can be used to enroll in college early. As with any college enrollment, assessment tests may be required upon college entrance to determine the student's ability for placement in the appropriate courses.
If a tester is under 18 and passes the exam, he or she may not leave high school without parent or guardian consent. The CHSPE eliminates the need for minors to get a work permit before being employed, but is not otherwise considered "emancipation," and laws regulating minors still apply.
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