Last week, we reported on the passage of legislation that effectively suspended the California High School Exit Exam — and the requirement that students pass it as a condition of graduation — through the 2017-18 school year.
The governor’s signing of SB 172 means school districts must grant diplomas to students who didn’t pass the CAHSEE but met all other graduation requirements, dating back to 2003-04 school year.
Although the law won’t take effect until Jan. 1, we’re here to provide answers to some frequently asked questions about the bill and what it means for local high school students.
Who is eligible to receive a diploma without having passed the high school exit exam?
Students who completed grade 12 in the 2003–04 school year, or in a subsequent school year, and have met all other applicable graduation requirements are eligible to receive a diploma.
What are “applicable graduation requirements”?
These include all local and state graduation requirements that the student was required to meet at the time he or she completed the 12th grade. Students are encouraged to work with their local school districts and adult education programs to determine their specific graduation requirements — and to meet them if they haven’t already.
Does this law include students in adult education programs?
Yes. Students enrolled in adult education programs in the 2003-04 school year, or in a subsequent school year, who have met all other graduation requirements, will be eligible to receive a diploma under this law.
When can eligible students get their diploma?
The law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2016, so districts can begin issuing diplomas to eligible students on or after that date. Just don’t expect to see many diplomas issued on New Year’s Day, as most offices will be closed.
Where can students go for information about receiving their diploma?
Eligible students should contact their school districts, county offices of education or charter schools where they completed grade 12.
Which school district is responsible for issuing the diploma for students who moved to an adult education program or changed schools to finish requirements for graduation?
Good question. Students should contact the last school or school district in which they were enrolled to request their diploma.
What do students do if the school they attended is now closed?
If that’s the case, the student should contact the local school district where he or she last attended school.
How will students know if all of their graduation requirements have been met?
The school district where a student last attended school will be able to make that determination based on the state and local graduation requirements that were in place when the student completed 12th grade.
If students completed all diploma requirements except for the exit exam before Jan. 1, 2016, what graduation date will appear on the diploma?
SB 172 doesn’t go into effect until Jan. 1, 2016, so all diploma issuance dates will be on or after Jan. 1.
What happens after the 2017-18 school year?
That remains to be seen. The new law directs the state superintendent of public instruction to convene an advisory panel to give recommendations on the future of the exam and other alternative pathways to satisfy high school graduation requirements. We’ll report any new developments here on the OCDE Newsroom.