BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ķ



                                                                  AB 1705
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          Date of Hearing:   April 11, 2012

                           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                                Julia Brownley, Chair
                 AB 1705 (Silva) - As Introduced:  February 15, 2012
           
          SUBJECT  :   Pupil assessment: high school exit examination: 
          eligible pupils with disabilities

           SUMMARY  :  Delays implementation of the high school exit exam 
          (HSEE) alternatives for eligible pupils with disabilities until 
          July 1, 2015.  Specifically,  this bill  : 

          1)Deletes the date of October 1, 2010 as the date by when the 
            State Board of Education (SBE) is required to adopt 
            regulations for implementing alternative means for eligible 
            pupils with disabilities to demonstrate that they have 
            achieved the same level of academic achievement in the content 
            standards required for passage of the HSEE.

          2)Delays from January 1, 2011 to July 1, 2015 the date by when 
            eligible pupils with disabilities shall be allowed to 
            participate in HSEE alternatives.

          3)Revises the definition of "eligible pupil with a disability" 
            to define a pupil who meets specified criteria and has an 
            expected graduation date of July 1, 2015, instead of January 
            1, 2011, and has satisfied all other state and local 
            graduation requirements by July 1, 2015, instead of January 1, 
            2011.

           EXISTING LAW  :

          1)Requires pupils, beginning with the Class of 2004, to 
            successfully pass the HSEE as a condition of receiving a 
            diploma of graduation.  As a result of action taken by SBE, 
            this requirement took effect beginning with the Class of 2006.

          2)Allows parents to request and school districts to grant a 
            waiver of the requirement to successfully pass the HSEE for a 
            pupil with a disability who has taken the HSEE with 
            modifications and has received the equivalent of a passing 
            score on one or both subject matters of the exam, if certain 
            conditions are met.









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          3)Allows pupils with disabilities to continue to receive special 
            education and related services until age 22 if they had an 
            individualized education program (IEP) prior to age 18 and 
            have not graduated high school with a diploma.

          4)Requires by October 1, 2010, the SBE, taking into 
            consideration specified findings and recommendations, to adopt 
            regulations for alternative means by which eligible pupils 
            with disabilities, as defined, may demonstrate that they have 
            achieved the same level of academic achievement in the content 
            standards required for passage of the HSSE.

          5)Defines an eligible pupil with a disability as a pupil who 
            has, among other things, an anticipated graduation date and is 
            scheduled to receive a high school diploma on or after January 
            1, 2011, and the school district or state special school 
            certifies that the pupil has satisfied or will satisfy all 
            other state and local requirements for the receipt of a high 
            school diploma on or after January 1, 2011. 

          6)Authorizes an eligible pupil with a disability, commencing 
            January 1, 2011, to participate in the alternative means of 
            demonstrating the level of academic achievement in the content 
            standards required for passage of the HSEE in the manner 
            prescribed by the regulations adopted by the SBE.

          7)Exempts, commencing with the 2009-10 school year, eligible 
            pupils with disabilities from the requirement to satisfy the 
            HSEE as a condition of high school graduation; and specifies 
            that this exemption shall last until the SBE makes a 
            determination that the alternative means are not feasible or 
            that the alternative means are implemented.  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown 

           COMMENTS  :  All California pupils are required to pass a high 
          school exit exam, in addition to meeting all other state and 
          local requirements, in order to receive a high school diploma.  
          A temporary exemption for eligible pupils with disabilities was 
          enacted in 2009 and is currently in place until the SBE makes a 
          determination that alternative means are not feasible or are 
          implemented.  Pupils with disabilities encounter particular 
          difficulties in meeting the high school exit exam requirement 
          for high school graduation, and according to the California High 
          School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) 2011 Evaluation Report, "While there 








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          has been some improvement for students in special education, 
          less than one quarter of these students met the CAHSEE 
          requirement in grade ten."  Additionally, results for the Class 
          of 2010 show that only 53% of pupils receiving special education 
          services in the Class of 2010 met the CAHSEE requirement by the 
          end of their senior year.  

          AB 2040 (Nuņez), Chapter 666, Statutes of 2008, required the 
          convening of a panel to make recommendations regarding 
          alternative means to satisfy the HSEE graduation requirement for 
          eligible pupils with disabilities.  Current law specifies that 
          eligible pupils with disabilities shall be allowed to 
          participate in alternative means commencing January 1, 2011 and 
          allows the SBE, by regulation, to extend this date by up to two 
          years, if it determines an extension is necessary for 
          appropriate implementation.  The SBE determined that alternative 
          means are feasible and adopted regulations establishing July 1, 
          2012 as the implementation date for the alternative means, 
          however CDE does not feel this implementation date is feasible 
          given that very few districts had an opportunity to participate 
          in the alternative means pilot and CDE feels not enough 
          information was produced to truly evaluate the alternative means 
          option, and to get a more comprehensive pilot underway would be 
          costly.  

          This bill extends the implementation date of the alternative 
          means to July 1, 2015.  

           Pupils with disabilities exempted from CAHSEE  :  AB 2 4X (Evans), 
          Chapter 2, Statutes of 2009, Fourth Extraordinary Session, 
          exempts eligible pupils with disabilities from the HSEE 
          requirement until the SBE makes a determination that alternative 
          means are not feasible or that the alternative means are 
          implemented.  Pupils with disabilities are still required, in 
          grade ten only, to take the CAHSEE to meet state and federal 
          requirements.  The SBE adopted regulations establishing July 1, 
          2012 as the implementation date for the alternative means which 
          means that the CAHSEE exemption for pupils with disabilities 
          expires on June 30, 2012.  While the SBE has the authority to 
          extend that date to January 1, 2013, this still leaves pupils 
          with disabilities with expected graduation dates after January 
          1, 2013, without an option for an exemption and without the 
          ability to demonstrate competency through alternative means.  

          Because the statute ties the CAHSEE exemption to the operative 








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          date of the alternative means, delaying implementation of the 
          alternative means also has the effect of extending the exemption 
          from meeting the CAHSEE requirement for eligible pupils with 
          disabilities to July 1, 2015.  Pupils eligible for this 
          exemption are still required to meet all other state and local 
          graduation requirements to obtain a high school diploma.  

           New standards and new assessments  :  Since the passage of AB 2040 
          in 2008, other developments dealing with standards and 
          assessments have developed.  In 2010, California adopted the 
          common core state standards, replacing the set of standards in 
          English language arts and mathematics that the HSEE currently 
          assesses hence any alternative means that are developed and 
          implemented now could soon be obsolete as they would not be 
          based on the new standards.  A next step will be to align 
          California's assessment system to the new common core state 
          standards.  To that end, California has joined a national 
          assessment consortium, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment 
          Consortium.  

          Furthermore, in anticipation of the upcoming reauthorization of 
          the state's assessment system, AB 250 (Brownley), Chapter 608, 
          Statutes of 2011, requires the Superintendent of Public 
          Instruction (SPI) to develop recommendations based on various 
          elements, including a plan to transition to a new statewide 
          pupil assessment.  The plan and the recommendations may address 
          and include recommendations about the HSEE.  According to the 
          CDE, "to implement alternative means aligned to the content 
          standards currently assessed by the CAHSEE could be costly and 
          would likely be for a relatively small number of students 
          potentially for a short period of time." There is a level of 
          uncertainly about what California's future assessment system 
          will look like and thus it may be prudent to provide more time 
          to appropriately coordinate and align all assessment efforts 
          particularly in consideration of the new common core state 
          standards.  

          The author notes that the date change as proposed by this bill 
          is necessary because, "While the state has determined that it is 
          feasible to create alternative means for eligible students to 
          satisfy the CAHSEE requirement, it would be unlikely to complete 
          its studies and fully implement it by the dates set forth in AB 
          2040 and it would be inefficient to do so while also 
          implementing a different set of standards in the coming years 
          that have been recently adopted." 








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           Suggested amendments  :  This bill delays implementation to July 
          1, 2015, but retains the ability for the SBE to extend this date 
          by two years through regulation.  The future of the HSEE is 
          uncertain, but in the event that the HSEE remains in place after 
          revisions to the state's assessment system are made, it is 
          unclear as to why it is necessary to allow the SBE to extend the 
          implementation date even further.  If HSEE stays in place, some 
          would argue that the alternative means for pupils with 
          disabilities should be available at the same time as a new HSEE 
          is operative and the alignment to the new standards should be 
          taking place concurrently as with any other assessments.  
          According to CDE, there may not be a need for an additional 
          extension after 2015, but given the uncertainties regarding the 
          HSEE at the present time, the CDE would like to retain the 
          ability to extend the timeline, in the event they need 
          additional time to align the alternatives to the common core 
          standards.   Staff recommends  , limiting the authority of the SBE 
          to extend the implementation date to a maximum of one year after 
          July 1, 2015.  

          The California Association for Parent Child Advocacy writes a 
          letter expressing concerns with the extension for developing 
          alternative tests and with the existing HSEE exemption.  The 
          letter suggests that the HSEE exemption has been "transformed in 
          practice into overreaching policies of issuing 'diplomas' to 
          students who do not have, and in some cases have no capacity to 
          acquire, the skills California has designated as essential for 
          high school graduation," and suggests amendments to a section of 
          the Education Code not in this bill.  The suggested amendments 
          would impose additional requirements for pupils with 
          disabilities to be able to obtain an exemption from the HSEE.  

          Arguments in support  :   The State Superintendent of Public 
          Instruction, the sponsor of this bill, states, "AB 1705 will 
          allow the California Department of Education and the State Board 
          of Education to fairly and efficiently implement the AB 2040 
          requirements in conjunction with the Common Core State 
          Standards, allowing the dates and timelines to be brought in 
          line with each other."

          The California School Boards Association writes, "AB 1705 will 
          move the date for implementation of the CAHSEE alternative means 
          test into alignment with the adoption and implementation of new 
          statewide assessment instruments. This will give the Department 








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          and the Board time to complete their work and integrate it with 
          the 'common core state standards' on or near the same dates."  

           Previous legislation  :  AB 2 4X (Evans), Chapter 2, Statutes of 
          2009, Fourth Extraordinary Session, exempts eligible pupils with 
          disabilities from the HSEE requirement until the SBE makes a 
          determination that alternative means are not feasible or that 
          the alternative means are implemented.

          AB 2040 (Nuņez), Chapter 666, Statutes of 2008, requires the 
          Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) to recommend, and the 
          State Board of Education to select, members of a panel that will 
          convene to make recommendations regarding alternative means for 
          eligible pupils with disabilities to demonstrate that they have 
          achieved the same level of academic achievement in the content 
          standards in English language arts or mathematics, or both, 
          required for passage of the high school exit exam (HSEE).  
          Provides that commencing January 1, 2011, an eligible pupil with 
          a disability who has fulfilled all of the requirements for a 
          high school diploma except passage of the HSEE may demonstrate 
          through alternative means that they have achieved the same level 
          of academic achievement required for passage of the HSEE. 
          Authorizes the SBE to extend the implementation date by up to 
          two years if it determines that an extension is necessary for 
          the appropriate implementation of the regulations adopted 
          pursuant to this bill. 

          SB 123 (Romero) of 2007 provides eligible pupils with 
          disabilities who have fulfilled all of the requirements for a 
          high school diploma except passage of the high school exit exam 
          the opportunity to receive a diploma by demonstrating through a 
          standardized evidence-based assessment that they have acquired 
          the same knowledge and skills necessary to pass the high school 
          exit exam.  SB 123 was vetoed with the following message:

               While I appreciate the author's continued efforts to 
               provide pupils with disabilities with other 
               opportunities to demonstrate that they meet the same 
               content standards of the California High School Exit 
               Exam (CAHSEE), this bill is premature.  The State 
               Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department 
               of Education (CDE) is nearing a final settlement 
               agreement with plaintiffs in the case of Chapman, et 
               al. v. the California Department of Education, et al.  
               This bill will not only interfere with current legal 








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               negotiations, but it also circumvents the SBE's 
               authority.
                
               In May 2007, the Superintendent of Public Instruction 
               recommended, and the SBE concurred, that the CAHSEE 
               continue as a graduation requirement for special 
               education students.  This bill would hinder that 
               effort.

          SB 517 (Romero), Chapter 3, Statutes of 2006, exempts pupils 
          with disabilities, until December 31, 2006, from the requirement 
          of passing the high school exit exam as a condition of receiving 
          a high school diploma, if they meet certain criteria.  

          SB 267 (Romero), Chapter 629, Statutes of 2006, extends, until 
          December 31, 2007, provisions exempting pupils with disabilities 
          from the requirement of passing the high school exit exam as a 
          condition of receiving a high school diploma, if they meet 
          certain criteria and requires the SPI to recommend to the 
          Legislature a course of action to adopt regarding pupils with 
          disabilities who have met all other state and local graduation 
          requirements, but who are unable to satisfy the CAHSEE 
          requirement or obtain a local waiver under current law. 

          SB 964 (Burton), Chapter 803, Statutes of 2003, called for an 
          independent consultant, advised by an appointed advisory panel, 
          to prepare a report that assessed options and provided 
          recommendations for alternatives to the high school exit exam 
          for students with disabilities.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          State Superintendent of Public Instruction (Sponsor)
          Association of California School Administrators 
          California County Boards of Education 
          California School Boards Association 
          California Teachers Association 
          School for Integrated Academics and Technologies 

           Opposition 
           
          None on file. 
           








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          Analysis Prepared by  :    Marisol Aviņa / ED. / (916) 319-2087