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Our School’s English Language Learners Did Great In High School Exit Exam!

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I have a lot of issues with the California State High School Exit Exam (CASHSEE), as do many others. I am especially concerned about it being a requirement for English Language Learners in order for them to graduate from high school — no matter when they came to the United States. One day I came into my classroom a minute late and found this written on the whiteboard:

“We took CAHSEE today and now we want to cry.”

Nevertheless, it’s a fact of life — at least for now. And, I’m happy to say that our school, Luther Burbank High School, which has the largest number of ELL’s in the region, also has — by far – the highest percentage of ELL’s who passed the CAHSEE in our district (in both Math and Language Arts), according the results released yesterday. In fact, though I didn’t feel like scrolling through the results district by district to analyze other individual schools  throughout the state,  at least by district results it appears we also exceeded the statewide average by a wide margin.  I couldn’t figure out another way to get a statewide comparison.

As I’ve written again and again, I definitely don’t believe scores are — by themselves — an accurate reflection on the quality of teaching at a school.  There are many other issues involved, and other  better ways to assess learning.  But they are one more piece of information.

Nevertheless, I am very, very happy for our students.  Being able to graduate from high school in the United States is considered an incredibly important  goal by most of our ELL students and their families,  and this test is a huge hurdle that many have just overcome.  Of course, not everybody made it this time,  but, with hard work and the support of an incredible group of teachers and administrators at our school, we can hope that those that didn’t will pass in future attempts.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for sharing these reflections, Larry. You really captured a slice of what it’s like operating in a system that has serious flaws and serious consequences, and living with the ambivalence to try to do the best you can for your students.

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