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More CUSD seniors pass exit exams
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California High School Exit Exam results were released recently and Ceres' numbers are up slightly.

Overall, test scores are up throughout the state of California. Test scores are up by 0.2 percent, but that still leaves about 45,000 students will not be able to graduate high school if they don't get a passing score on their next opportunity to take the exit exam. Among last year's seniors, 90.6 percent statewide had passed the exam.

"I am encouraged by the progress we have made toward preparing more students for graduation, but today California continues to leave too many behind," said state Senator Gloria Romero, senator and Chair of the Senate Education Committee.

Central Valley High School showed the greatest percentage of seniors passing the test in Ceres - 95 percent. The state average is 90.6 percent.

Last year 92.7 percent of CVHS seniors passed the test.

Whitmore Charter High School seniors passed CAHSEE at a rate of 93.8 percent.

Of those seniors at Ceres High School taking the test, 90.04 percent passed. That was down from the 91.8 percent that passed in 2008.

Mary Jones, CUSD's assistant superintendent of Educational Services, said the disparity between CHS and CVHS is due to the special education population at Ceres High that has more difficulty passing the test.

Argus High School seniors passed the CAHSEE at a rate of 49.6 percent while Endeavor High was 42.9 percent. Both schools are continuation high schools.

The combined average of comprehensive Ceres high schools of passing seniors was 93.05 percent. That was up slightly from the 93.7 percent last year. The average excludes Whitmore Charter, Argus and Endeavor.

"Ceres did pretty well," said Jones. "We've really steadily been increasing. We really focus more on kids passing at the 10th grade so students don't lose their electives to catch them up so they can pass. Once they don't pass we are really hard on them."

Underclassmen who don't pass the exam will lose elective classes, such as art, music or shop. They also have to take extra classes in the area in which they are weak. For example, said Jones, if they fail on the math portion of the test, they must take an extra math class to bone up on the exam the next time it's taken.

Sophomores must take the test which consists of two parts - math and English. Both parts must be passed for the student to receive a diploma. If they don't pass the test the first time, they must retake the part of the test they failed until it is passed.

This CAHSEE is essential to graduate because it is used to make sure the students have developed the skills that are essential for life after high school, according to the CAHSEE website.

The improving test scores are increasing the number of high school students graduating, as well as going along with Obama's Race to the Top program.

"Today's CAHSEE results underscore the importance of California meeting President Obama's challenge to Race to the Top and transform education," Romero said.

Obama's Race to the Top program is about achieving significant improvement in student outcomes, including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and ensuring that students are prepared for success in college and careers, according to the Race to the Top Web site.