BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



           SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Senator Carol Liu, Chair
                                2015 - 2016  Regular 

           Bill No:             SB 172             
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           |Author:    |Liu                                                  |
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           |Version:   |April 6, 2015                               Hearing  |
           |           |Date:    April 15, 2015                              |
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           |Urgency:   |No                     |Fiscal:    |Yes              |
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           |Consultant:|Lynn Lorber                                          |
           |           |                                                     |
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           Subject:  Pupil testing:  high school exit examination:   
           suspension

             SUMMARY
           
           This bill suspends the administration of the high school exit  
           examination, and the requirement that students pass this exam  
           as a condition of graduation from high school, during the  
           2016-17 through 2018-19 school years, or when the high school  
           exit exam is no longer available.

             BACKGROUND
           
           Current law:

              1)   Required the Superintendent of Public Instruction to  
                develop, and the State Board of Education (SBE) to adopt,  
                a high school exit examination in English language arts  
                and mathematics in accordance with the academic content  
                standards adopted by the SBE.  (Education Code  60850)

              2)   Requires pupils to successfully pass the high school  
                exit exam as a condition of receiving a diploma of  
                graduation, in addition to completing state and local  
                graduation requirements.  (Education Code  60851,  
                51225.3 and 51224.5)

              3)   Established the Academic Content Standards Commission  








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                for the purpose of developing the California Common Core  
                Standards in English language arts and mathematics, and  
                required the State Board of Education to reject or adopt  
                those standards by August 2, 2010.  (EC  60605.8)

              4)   Revamped the State's assessment system by eliminating  
                several assessments that were aligned to prior academic  
                content standards, transitioning to assessments that are  
                aligned to the common core standards in English language  
                arts and mathematics, and requiring existing assessments  
                for English language development and primary language to  
                be revised for alignment with the common core standards.   
                (EC  60640) 

              5)   Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction  
                (SPI), by March 1, 2016, to submit to the State Board of  
                Education, the appropriate legislative policy and fiscal  
                committee and the Director of Finance, recommendations on  
                expanding the California Assessment of Student  
                Performance and Progress to include additional  
                assessments.  The SPI is required to consult with  
                specified stakeholders, and make recommendations  
                regarding assessments including the grade level, content,  
                and type of assessment.  (EC  60640(c))
             
           ANALYSIS
           
           This bill suspends the administration of the high school exit  
           exam, and the requirement that students pass this exam as a  
           condition of graduation from high school, during the 2016-17  
           through 2018-19 school years, or when the high school exit  
           exam is no longer available.  Specifically, this bill:

           1.   Notwithstands the requirement that students pass the high  
                school exit exam (exit exam) as a condition of receiving  
                a diploma of graduation or a condition of graduation from  
                high school, and suspends the administration of and  
                requirement to pass the exit exam for the 2016-17,  
                2017-18, and 2018-19 school years, or when the exit exam  
                is no longer available.

           2.   Requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI)  
                to convene an advisory panel to provide recommendations  
                to the SPI on the continuation of the high school exit  








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                exam, and on alternative pathways to satisfy the high  
                school graduation requirements.

           3.   Requires the recommendations of this advisory panel to be  
                included in the currently-required report by the SPI on  
                the expansion of the State's assessment system, which is  
                due to the State Board of Education, appropriate  
                legislative policy and fiscal committees, and the  
                Director of Finance by March 1, 2016. 

           4.   Requires the advisory panel to consist of, but not be  
                limited to:

                     A.             Secondary teachers.

                     B.             School administrators.

                     C.             School board members.

                     D.             Parents.

                     E.             The student member of the State Board  
                     of Education.

                     F.             Measurement experts.

                     G.             Individuals with expertise in  
                     assessing English learners and students with  
                     disabilities.

           STAFF COMMENTS

           1.   Need for the bill.  According to the author, "Passing the  
                California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) was  
                added as a requirement for high school graduation  
                beginning with the Class of 2006.  California has  
                revamped the State's assessment system by transitioning  
                to assessments that are aligned to the common core  
                standards and eliminating outdated assessments.  The 

           California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) has not been  
                updated for alignment to the common core standards and is  
                therefore outdated as the exam is aligned to standards  
                that are no longer in place."








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           2.   Purpose of the high school exit exam.  According to  
                independent evaluations conducted by the Human Resources  
                Research Organization (HumRRO), California's high school  
                exit exam has served a valuable purpose by ensuring  
                students demonstrate competency on standards, providing  
                remediation opportunities prior to grade 12, and helping  
                to overall narrow the achievement gap between subgroups.   
                The findings of HumRRO's 2014 Biennial Report include:

                A.        Performance on the CAHSEE continues to improve,  
                     but remains low for English learners and students  
                     with disabilities.

                B.        CAHSEE passage rates for students with  
                     disabilities have been mixed, and the availability  
                     of an exemption or waiver to the requirement appears  
                     to influence passing rates.

                C.        Graduation rates have continued to improve and  
                     dropout rates continue to decrease. Over time, more  
                     students persisted into grade 12 and beyond.

                D.        A very strong relationship was discovered  
                     between CAHSEE achievement and college enrollment.

                E.        Preliminary screening of the CAHSEE item bank  
                     indicated limited alignment to the Common Core  
                     Standards (CCSS) and, for mathematics, alignment of  
                     some items to CCSS at a lower grade level.

                 http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/hs/documents/cahsee14biennlrpt 
                .pdf#search=cahsee%20contract&view=FitH&pagemode=none   

                Current law requires students, as a condition of  
                graduating from high school, to successfully complete  
                specified coursework, any locally-imposed graduation  
                requirements, and pass the high school exit exam.  This  
                bill suspends the requirement to pass the exit exam; the  
                high school graduation requirements would therefore be  
                the coursework required by the State and any  
                locally-imposed requirements.  
                
           3.   Alignment with curricular standards.  The State Board of  








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                Education adopted the California Common Core Standards in  
                English language arts and mathematics in August 2010.   
                The California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) is  
                aligned to English language arts and mathematics  
                standards that were adopted by the State Board of  
                Education in 1997.  The CAHSEE has not been updated for  
                alignment with current academic content standards.  AB  
                484 (Bonilla, Ch. 489, 2013) revamped the State's  
                assessment system to, among other things, transition to  
                assessments that are aligned to the common core  
                standards, including subject-matter exams, the English  
                language development test and the primary language  
                assessment.  

           The 2014 Biennial Report provided by Human Resources Research  
                Organization (HumRRO) states that the evaluators observed  
                review meetings held by the exit exam contractor to  
                evaluate the 16,000 items the contractor considered to be  
                associated with the common core standards.  According to  
                HumRRO, approximately half of those items were judged not  
                aligned when evaluated directly to common core standards,  
                and an additional number of mathematics items were judged  
                to align to common core standards at an earlier grade  
                than the California content standard did.  HumRRO reports  
                that these results indicate that the exit exam item bank  
                would need to be substantially revised (e.g., replacing  
                or modifying a significant number of items) to align to  
                the common core standards.

           4.   Contract issues.  According to the California Department  
                of Education (CDE), the contract for the California High  
                School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) will expire on October  
                31, 2015.  Pursuant to this contract, the last  
                administration of the CAHSEE will be in July 2015.  The  
                CDE maintains that the Department of General Services is  
                prohibiting the CDE from extending the contract for the  
                CAHSEE, and instead is requiring the CDE to issue a  
                Request for Proposal.  This process can be time  
                consuming; even if initiated immediately, a new contract  
                will not be in place to ensure administration of the  
                CAHSEE in July and possibly October and later in 2015.

           Absent any action, the CAHSEE will not be administered to  
                students beginning July 2015, yet the requirement to pass  








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                the exit exam remains.  This bill suspends the  
                requirement to pass the exit exam during specified school  
                years, or when the exit exam is no longer available. 

           5.   Why suspend?  This bill suspends the administration of  
                the high school exit exam, and the requirement that  
                students pass this exam as a condition of graduation from  
                high school.  According to the author, this bill does not  
                eliminate the high school exit exam, specifically  
                requires the exit exam to be updated or replaced, or  
                provide for a replacement or alternative during the term  
                of suspension because the decisions of whether the exit  
                exam should be updated, replaced with other measurements,  
                or eliminated should be carefully considered by the  
                workgroup established by this bill.  
           
           6.   Used for federal accountability.  The federal Elementary  
                and Secondary Education Act requires States that  
                participate in Title I (provides funding to schools to  
                educate low-income students) to meet Adequate Yearly  
                Progress (AYP) criteria.  The required AYP indicators (at  
                the school, local educational agency and State levels)  
                for California's 2014 AYP reports are all of the  
                following: 

                A.        Participation rate - requires a 95%  
                     participation rate on the statewide assessments in  
                     order to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).

                B.        Annual Measurable Objectives, also known as  
                     percent proficient - requires that 100% of students  
                     perform at the proficient or above level on  
                     statewide assessments in English language arts and  
                     mathematics by 2014. 

                C.        Graduation rate - requires the State to use the  
                     graduation rate as an additional indicator for all  
                     schools and local educational agencies with grade 12  
                     students.

                California currently reports California High School Exit  
                Examination (CAHSEE) data as part of AYP for purposes of  
                calculating participation rates and percent proficient.   
                Four years of enrollment and exit data are used to  








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                calculate the graduation rate for schools and local  
                educational agencies.  Absent the availability of CAHSEE  
                data, the State may report data from the State  
                Board-adopted assessments that are aligned to the common  
                core.  The absence of CAHSEE data will not compromise the  
                State's ability to meet federal accountability  
                requirements.
                
           7.   Related and Prior legislation. 

           RELATED LEGISLATION

           AB 812 (Weber, 2015) requires the California Department of  
                Education, by September 1, 2017, to develop an assessment  
                tool to determine the proficiency level of pupils of  
                limited English proficiency identified through a survey  
                process.  AB 812 requires, beginning with the 2018-19  
                school year, the assessment to be conducted upon initial  
                enrollment, in order to provide information to determine  
                if the pupil is a pupil of limited English proficiency,  
                and annually thereafter.  AB 812 is pending in the  
                Assembly Education Committee.

           PRIOR LEGISLATION 

           AB 484 (Bonilla, Ch. 489, 2013) among other things, eliminated  
                the Standardized Testing and Reporting Program, and  
                instead established the California Assessment of Student  
                Performance and Progress, which includes assessments that  
                are aligned to the common core standards.  AB 484 did not  
                affect the high school exit exam statutes.

           SB 267 (Pavley, Ch. 479, 2014) extended the implementation  
                date on the use of alternative means for an eligible  
                pupil with a disability to demonstrate academic  
                achievement rather than passing the high school exit  
                exam, thereby extending the exemption from the  
                requirement to pass the exit exam.



             SUPPORT
           
           EdVoice








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           Riverside County Superintendent of Schools
           San Diego Unified School District
           San Francisco Unified School District
           SIATech
           State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson

             OPPOSITION
            
            None received.

                                      -- END --