Journal Article: High-Stakes Testing: Does the California High School Exit Exam Measure Up?


Academic Achievement, Achievement Measures, Educational, Measurement, High School Students, Language Proficiency, Mathematical Ability


Callet, Valerie J.




In 2002, President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition to providing additional funding for schools and encouraging local autonomy, the new law focuses on accountability in an attempt to close the achievement gap for all students, leaving no child behind. Perhaps the most striking manifestation of Bush's new law is the amplified attention on high-stakes testing as a means to demonstrate accountability. The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is California's effort to ensure accountability by proving that students are proficient in English language arts and mathematics on graduation. Hailed as near flawless by an independent evaluating agency, the test is nonetheless the subject of much debate. Because testing as a means of demonstrating accountability is surely becoming a reality, the CAHSEE must be examined to ensure its fairness. Kunnan's (2004) test fairness framework makes it possible to examine the test within the context of fairness using 5 main qualities: validity, absence of bias, access, administration, and social consequences. The framework is particularly relevant to the CAHSEE because the test's potential for impact is so great. In the end, some questions regarding the test's fairness remain. Although full implementation of the test as a requirement for high school graduation is scheduled for the class of 2006, it is not yet certain whether next year's graduates will have to pass the CAHSEE. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA ) (journal abstract)


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