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The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is the one element of the state’s accountability system that holds students, rather than schools, accountable for performance. Moreover, it carries high stakes—beginning with the class of 2006, students must pass it to graduate. That reality guarantees controversy, and numerous headlines have reflected continuing debate over whether the exit exam requirement is fair for all students. This report maps out the history and status of the exam and addresses key issues surrounding it, including:
- the CAHSEE’s impact to date on students as well as on the state education system;
- issues of fairness;
- what the state is doing to help struggling students (particularly special education students); and
- options for students who have not passed by graduation day.