As everyone here knows we have looming for the first time in the state high school exit exam and as a condition of receipt of a high school diploma each student in addition to their requisite number of course work being completed, number of credits, good attendance and any community service that might be imposed; students will also have to pass a high school exit exam as a condition of receipt before that diploma.

 

I want to tell you overall Iím pleased with where we are. I announced about ten days ago the results from our most recent administration of the high school exit exam. Where over 20,000 students in the class of 2006 that have not yet passed the exam passed the English language arts portion and over 19,000 more passed the math portion.

 

So we are approaching the 85% figure in terms of the number of students for the class of 2006 for the passed high school exit. And weíre right around 90% of our students have passed one section or the other. And as I think you know, you pass one section your done with that, and you can focus on the one youíve yet to pass. So overall Iím pleased.

 

That said, we need to do a better job with our subgroups. Weíll talk more about our subgroups in a moment. But our subgroups continue to lag behind their peers. And that is a major concern of mine and I know it is for you as well.

 

I can certainly understand the concerns that many folks have that have yet to pass the high school exit exam. But I want to really present the rationale for the high school exit exam just quickly and that is that we know we need to prepare students for the new global economy. The new economy really does require higher-level communication skills and higher-level skills in math in addition to being technologically proficient, which this office is really a model for throughout the state.

 

Itís a global economy and our job to prepare students for jobs that we donít even know what theyíre going to be in the future is more difficult than ever. A friend of mine involved in research was telling me about a month ago, a friend of yours from Bakersfield area, County Superintendent Dr. Rider was telling me that students in first grade today are going to have on average five careers, four of those careers are not yet even invented.

 

If you look at the census forms from just a couple decades ago, 25% of the jobs today were not even listed. And I was talking to a friend of mine in Intel recently and he said, as of December 31st, 90% of all of the goods that they shipped out the door was not even invented 365 days earlier. So you can see the changing demands that we have in this economy. So I not only want our students to be able to survive I want them to be able to thrive.

 

So please also remember that prior to our imposition of the high school exit exam our graduation requirements really varied widely from district to district and sometimes even the requirements from school to school. For some districts we simply have a certification of seat time and no real mastery of fundamental skills and no consistency often times from school to school, district to district. And in my opinion, thatís a disservice to students. To hand them out into this more competitive workplace with a diploma thatís simply setting them up for failure. And not have the skills to succeed.

 

Quite frankly and I mentioned earlier, our subgroups is where weíre going to need to focus more of our time, more of our collective energy and wisdom. Far too many of our students in our subgroups are not doing as well as we would like. Too many students of color, too many African American students, and Latino students, students learning the English language, students from the disabled community or special needs kids, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, students like me whose parents never set foot on a college campus are not doing as well as many of their peers. And we need to make sure that these students have the essential skills to succeed.

 

Itís more important than ever that we focus on these subgroups. My friends, these are the subgroups that are going to make up our working economy. And if weíre going to remain the fifth largest economic engine in the world as a state, the solution, the secret to be able to have that competitive work force, that well engineered, that problem solving analytical work force is we have to focus on these subgroups.

 

Thatís what led me to author this legislation when I was a member of the State Senate back in 1999. It was to try to get more help to many of these students. Too many students fell through the cracks. Weíve all heard that expression. And this is an effort to help make sure we get more focus, more attention, and more resources to more of these students.

 

Now the laws been in place for six years, and yes itís been postponed a couple times already. But I believe the lawís already working. Itís working because we have higher expectations for all of our students. Weíre more accountable for all of our students. Look at the CSTís, the standardized test scores that I announced back in August. And the biggest jump for the first time was in high school.

 

It didnít get a lot of play or media attention. But for the first time the biggest jump in our test scores this past year was in high school. And I want to thank you for that. And I attribute much of that success to the looming high school exit exam and the refocus on our standards based education. And I want to make sure that that focus and that attention and those resources remain there for our high schools. I want that high school diploma to mean more in the future than itís meant in the past.

 

The business community is in strong strong support of high school exit exam and the public is in support as well. I tell you as I get up and down the state meeting with superintendents, school board members, parents, teachers, paraeducators, yes even students they are telling me that looming high school exit exam has really focused more attention on acquiring the skills necessary for success in the work force.

 

You know, when you really stop and think about where weíve come in just the last decade youíve really done a lot. Think about the world class standards that weíve adopted. Think about our accountability system we donít have just one we have two. The growth model that I prefer based on academic performance index and then the federal AYP, adequate yearly progress. And now we have our assessment instruments and our instructional materials aligned to those standards.

 

So weíve done a lot and to me the capstone of our accountability system is the high school exit exam. Some of my friends have told me itís the most significant high school reform measure in the last couple of decades. And itís clearly led to higher expectations for all students, higher standards, more focus, and more intensive development of programs to help. In my opinion it would be a colossal mistake to walk away from high school exit or to postpone it or to dilute the exam at this point.

 

Now after extensive review and after looking at possible alternatives to our high school exit exam for our non-special education students, Iíve come to the conclusion that no suitable alternative exists today for our students other than pass the high school exit exam. Itís the only exam thatís always been fully aligned to our standards and itís one that measures the minimum set of skills our students need for success.

 

The only way that we can really be sure that our graduates have the critical skills needed in this global competitive economy is to make sure our students pass high school exit make sure they pass regular course work. So the message today is that thereíll be no substitute for this exam, however many options exist for our students to help our students pass the exam and to prepare for the future.

 

Students do not have to be indefinitely denied a high school diploma simply because they do not pass the high school exit exam, once as a Sophomore, twice as a Junior, three times as a Senior. Failure to pass high school exit exam simply means your public education is not complete. You need to continue through a fifth year in school, you need to continue through independent study, through adult education, through enrollment at community college, through summer school. Iím committed to break down whatever barriers are there to guarantee that every student who wants to continue his or her education has a place in our public school system.

 

Now removing some of those obstacles will require legislation and weíve already have initiated a program to implement changes, some of which we can do through the regulatory process, some will need the help of the state board of education who is working on this issue as well, and others weíre going to need help through the legislative arena and also with the governor. Let me just touch up on some of the options that will help our students become better prepared for the work force and have more skills to succeed as adults.

 

We clearly want our students to seek additional, remedial and supplemental educational opportunities. And thatís the current law; youíre providing those courses. We want these students if they wish to attend high school for an additional year to have that choice. A year of independent study passed the senior year, enrollment in a charter school, enrollment in adult education, enrollment in community college like right here we have a outstanding community college, enrollment in county community schools, passage of the California high school proficiency exam, and a preparation for GED.

 

Like I volunteer and teach a class every summer in Sacramento on GED prep. So I want to make sure that our students have greater access to summer school and Iíve already met with folks in the governorís office to put in the request that the economy remain strong to lift some caps for adult education, lift some caps in the area of summer school, and to make a more seamless transition possible for even students who have yet to pass high school exit to enroll in our community colleges.

 

We also need to make sure that Cal Grants are available to students if they choose to go to community college and have yet to pass the high school exit exam. Iím also going to be sponsoring legislation this year that will require our testing company to provide the high school exit exam this summer after summer courses are available. Weíre also looking at the possibility of having the exam administered on a Saturday as well.

 

Weíre also in negotiations with the testing company, ETS, to try to get our last administration, the May date, the results back to you in a more timely manner so that if the studentís successful in passing theyíll be able to still walk through the line, receive their diploma with their peers, with their classes and of course that important thing go to Disneyland which is what some of the kids have asked me about.

 

So Iím going to tell you Iím aware and Iíve seen and Iíve visited many many successful programs to help students prepare for this new economy. And beginning actually I believe itís today at 5 oí clock there will be on our web page at the Department of Education, itís cde.ca.gov, you will see a list of best practices around the state that are available for preparation for high school exit exam. I have seen and visited some great before school programs to help students learn the skills that they need. Iíve seen after school programs, Iíve seen lunch time programs, intersession programs.

 

Sac City had a program during its most recent winter break where they opened up a couple of their schools to 10th graders who have yet to take the high school exit exam, and they had 90% of their students come for three days on two weeks, a two week vacation that many of us had, they had 90% of their students come, 10th graders, for three days simply to focus on the skills they need for high school exit came for half a day.

 

Iíve seen a program at Bakersfield where they used some of their class size reduction money to focus on students that didnít know why the classes were only ten or twelve students and those are the ones who have yet to pass high school exit as well. Iíve seen some good small groups, Iíve seen some groups utilizing technology, and some of which youíre going to hear about in a minute. So I hope youíll take advantage of these suggestions, youíll take a look at some of the options. And you know better than anyone whether or not some of these options will work for you.

 

And finally, I want to conclude my portion of the little form here today is to say that I know we still have skeptics and I know we still have some folks that say the high school exit exam ought not exist and we should just let every student walk and every student get a diploma and go back to status quo and business as usual. But I want to be very clear, I sincerely believe in every student in the California public school system. I know, we know, that every student can learn. We want every student to have a legitimate shot of success in this changing, demanding, quite frankly less secure economy that we have.

 

Weíre not going to turn our backs on any student; we will leave no student behind. And we want every student to be able to participate and to contribute to this global economy. We want every student to be prepared for success during the rest of the 21st century. I know that the students are going to meet us half way and I again want to applaud you for your commitment and your effort to helping provide that infrastructure, that educational infrastructure, so that these students can enjoy success.

 

I also want to make sure that all of our students take advantage of the courses and the opportunities that they have. I want to make sure these students make their senior year count. Learn the skills that are necessary for success. And if a student tries and tries and still canít master the skills necessary to pass high school exit, weíre still not going to turn our back on them. The students will be able to take the test as many times as they wish.

 

There has been a myth that you can only take it six times and then you are forever not eligible again, weíre going to insure you can continue to take the test. There will always be a place for you within our California public school system until you master the skills that are necessary to prepare you for your future in adulthood.

 

Let me now introduce the director of our high school exit exam program and division, sheís put forth a little slide presentation, and all of this is going to on our web page hopefully within the next week, Iím going to ask Dr. Lily Roberts to please come forward and make a few comments and do the slide. Lily. Thank you very much everybody for coming.

 

 

 

Iím shorter so Iíll move this down a little bit. Hi everybody. This will be quick, the superintendent has already hit on a lot of the good points that we have and I want to not keep everybody here and be stuck in traffic the rest of the day. Iíve been involved with the CAHSEE since almost the beginning, not as long as the superintendent but Iíve seen it go through many evolutions. And so I think itís a very good exam.

 

Itís obviously according to our independent evaluator a valid and reliable instrument as a high stakes exit exam. And so thatís very important to me as someone who has a background in psychometrics. I appreciate that about this exam and the hard work thatís gone into it across the state that includes all the work that goes on in your schools and districts so I appreciate such a nice turn out today too because we have a small staff but we work hard and it takes all of us to do this for the children of California so thank you.

 

I will try and speed through the presentation and get to the local remediation strategies. Weíre just starting to build a compendium as the superintendent pointed out and Dr. Long told me about something in Riverside County that youíve all put together. We look forward to including that in our compendium as well. And so Iíll move right along.

 

Legislative Update, basically about remediation funds. Last year there was Assembly Bill 128 that provided 20 million dollars for grade 12 students this current year the class of Ď06 who have not passed the CAHSEE. That was apportioned based on a percentage of the students who have not yet passed, so a lot of that money went to alternative programs and others.

 

The governor has pledged to put in another 20 million this year and I believe the focus in the new legislation will be more on comprehensive high schools and their needs for the students as well. And another part of that money was 50 million dollars for special education students and that was sent out through ADA or the regular formula for special education funding, but again for CAHSEE remediation for special education students.

 

A quick overview of the exam, obviously weíre down to the wire by May and June students will need to know whether or not theyíve passed this exam and in many cases districts are deciding whether or not theyíll be able to walk the stage for graduation. The CAHSEE has no exemptions or opt-outs at this point. And beginning in grade 10 students have several opportunities and yes it is a myth that they only have six because even currently they can take a fifth year of senior and take more opportunities with this exam.

 

They can go on to adult school and the adult school, for those of you involved in adult school programs, we will be increasing the number of opportunities for adult school students to take this exam from two to probably three. The students may only take the test once and then once theyíve passed it they canít take it again.

 

We have upcoming test dates here, right around the corner is the February test, the 7th and 8th. And this will be the big what we call our census administration for grade 10 students in February and March and the superintendent mentioned AYP. This is a very important time to try to make sure all the grade 10 students donít have the flu and theyíre in their classes taking the exam because CAHSEE not is it only an exit exam but itís also our grade 10 high school accountability measure for No Child Left Behind. March exams are coming up and the deadline for ordering is this month. And May exams are for make-ups for grade 10 students who were absent in February or March. So they can still be included in your AYP accountability.

 

And its also grade 11 and 12 and adult students may also test in the May administrations. The superintendent mentioned the summer administration. Weíve been negotiating with ETS trying to figure out when can we fit in a July, August, probably late July. So for show of hands if we had a test late July how would that work for your summer programs? Would that be good? Yes? Bigger hands, taller hands! Okay, wonderful. That will help because the superintendent thatís his job in legislation is to designate the testing dates so weíre trying to narrow that down to meet most of your needs out there.

 

The exam content, Iíll go through this rather quickly. We know it includes both English-Language Arts and Mathematics. But what Iíd like to point out is for English-Language Arts content students only need to pass at a 60% correct. So they have 72 items that theyíre scored on plus one essay and they only need to get 60% of those correct. There are several strands that they are tested on and I want to point this out, because in terms of remediation many of the programs are targeting in on how kids are doing.

 

Theyíre either using the CAHSEE or earlier CST scores to target remediation and theyíre looking at the strands and how students are doing. So that becomes a focus for improving those students passing rates. Mathematics, there are 80 math items, multiple-choice items on this exam. And for mathematics students only need to get 55% correct.

 

We havenít ratcheted that up yet, I mean that is the intent over time with our rigorous standards that as we move forward we would enhance those passing scores. That is the state boards responsibility. But at this point thatís where we stand. And again the math strands on the CAHSEE are primarily drawn from grade 7 standards and a little bit of Algebra 1. There are 12 items on the test that are drawn from Algebra 1 standards.

 

Remediation. The superintendent already mentioned that since the beginning of CAHSEE itís been incumbent upon districts to provide remediation through supplemental instruction through summer school for students at risk for not passing this exam. And as I mentioned given their grade 6 and 7 standards on math and Algebra 1, the middle schools are as much a partner in this as high school students.

 

And the evaluator has shown that where articulation is occurring between middle and high schools that the students are passing at higher rates. The other part of the education code there has to do with the AB 128 funding, last yearís moneys, for the non-passers and intensive instruction in services. And those moneys are very very flexible. At the end of the year the LEAís who receive those moneys will need to report back to the superintendent and identify two things, one the diagnostic assessment that you used and the number of students who have passed the CAHSEE.

 

A quick history, several years ago we put together a remediation planning guide and worked with our regional assessment network folks from Riverside County and other counties across the state doing a training of trainers. And sharing information about how do you put into place strategies for remediating students at risk of not passing this test.

 

Testing has been going on and then in October of 2005 the newest remediation funds were apportioned. We then in November convened a beginning work group to look at remediation again and look at that guide and bring it up to date and make it more of an implementing remediation guide. And the starting point of that is the compendium that will be up on the web today, which includes abstracts from several projects that Iíll talk about shortly.

 

We initially convened a remediation work group in mid November. These folks were identified from the county office regional assessment network representatives and others that we have talked to around the state. They came together and looked at diagnostic assessments that they were using, the target audiences that they were focused on and so forth and we included that information in the compendium. The expected outcomes in the short term are the compendium and the abstracts and weíre collecting more of those. And in the next four to six months we hope to have an implementation guide available and on the website for ease of use.

 

Quickly, Preparation. One of the things noted by the remediation work group and others is the resources that the department has free of charge already on our web available to you all. Thereís guidelines for academic test preparation that includes the criteria by which we select our release test questions and currently on the CAHSEE website we have over 150 release test questions. Districts and county offices around the state have used those release test questions and created practice tests. Theyíre using those on a pre/post test basis in their remediation programs and finding those very valuable.

 

The other things theyíre finding valuable are study guides. And Iím hoping, I asked my niece, whoís in grade 10, ďHave you seen your study guides yet?Ē ďUh, no not yet.Ē So I want to remind you that we pushed ahead and got the class of 08ís study guides out there. We want to see these distributed and weíre asking the legislature and department of finance for more money to continue printing these and hopefully updating them a little more adding more release test questions. And you can always call our office for more copies. However, we sent out an overage of 30-40% and asked not only do you put one in the hand of every single grade 10 student, give them to your teachers, give them to your Adult Ed students and so forth to promote that.

 

Other resources we have on the web are teacherís guides that I know teachers are already using. They include release test questions and guidelines about addressing the standards in regular standards based instruction as well as any remedial courses. Assistance packets those are targeted at district testing coordinators but it includes information for parents about this program. Whether or not itís a brochure, we have brochures in English and Spanish. Unfortunately we donít have the resources at the state to translate them to other languages. We provide information on reporting results on how to administer the test and so forth.

 

And then finally noted on here is the matrix of test variations, accommodations and modifications. And I want to point that out. Itís a very important resource, it does cut across all the states tests not just CAHSEE but SELP, STAR, the CSTís, the physical fitness test and thatís an important resource for your district testing coordinators, but itís also incumbent upon you to remember as you get sued along with the rest of us that special education students have to be allowed any and all accommodations or modifications or variations specified in their individualized education programs or Section 504 plans. I canít emphasize that enough.

 

So a quick overview of some of the remediation models. These are currently in place you probably know of many in your own local areas across the state helping students. We canít indorse or evaluate these because we donít have the money to do that at the state, but theyíve been deemed to be locally successful. One of the key factors there is that itís increasing the passing rates among students on the CAHSEE at the local level. So I think thatís an important key given thatís what we want these for.

 

Matrix, again 5 oí clock today were hoping that theyíre working hard back in our department to get these up on the website. The matrix will include links to abstracts from about 15 programs right now and itís growing by the moment. And that will be a valuable resource to folks who are doing remediation. They want to call their buddies and say ďHey, what are you doing with those release test questions that I might be able to adapt in my local situation.Ē Many programs as I noted are using the study guides. Itís a free resource available to you so you donít have to go out and buy something. Although many programs are also using publisherís materials I just canít say which. Although if you look at the abstracts and call the folks they can tell you.

 

Target audiences. The programs out there target everything down to ninth grade through high school Adult Ed we have a variety in our compendium that will be posted later today. Everything from a small high school situation as in Waterford to Elk Grove, which is a large growing urban southern Sacramento school district. Some of these also target the non-passers so they have very intensive instruction using for example the CAHSEE scores, the strand information that we noted earlier.

 

How are they doing in number sense? Or is it measurement and geometry? We all talk about algebra being a problem but what we see in our results is really its measurement and geometry thatís holding kids back. So we need to target remediation for the individual. Target audiences as well. There are programs like Desert Sands Unified that looks at English Learners and Special Ed students and provides intensive instruction for these special populations. And Whittier Union High School also has a program. So these will be featured in the abstracts on our website.

 

The compendium will include various models. The superintendent mentioned some of these that heís been able to visit around that state already. Thereís small group instruction. Thereís individualized tutoring. All of which is paid for through AB 128. As I said itís very flexible funding. There are programs, after school programs that are funded through California Academic Partnership Program and a couple of those are featured in here.

 

There are programs specific to Special Ed and English Learners. And then there are some that look at, Orange Unified, looks at professional development for teachers assisting them and looking at the diagnostic information from the CAHSEE and the CSTís and how can they then better serve students. And then information for adult learners and how to target remediation for those students as well.

 

In looking across these various programs, the diagnostic assessments, one of the key features for the early intervention is using the CSTís and whether theyíre far below basic or looking at for the non-passers how they did as Iíve mentioned several times already the strand scores on the CAHSEE. And using practice tests, pre and post. For release test questions the study guides also have unit tests in them that are available and many of the publishers materials, to go unnamed, also have tests included with them.

 

What Iíd like to encourage you to do, and you can email us at the CAHSEE office, is if you know of programs, and I know Dave Iíve already taken his card, we want to encourage you to provide us with information that we can share with others and include in this compendium. And we have put together an online submission form so that you can just go right to the website and enter the basic information and send that to us so that we can quickly add it to our compendium. And you can always call the CAHSEE office about any questions of all the above and anything else that you can think of. And I have a very crack team there who do a hard job and work very well. So thank you very much thatís all I have.