San Mateo County students ready to graduate

More San Mateo County seniors in the Class of 2008 managed to ace the state’s exam to graduate than students in years past.

The number of students who failed California High School Exit Exam, or CAHSEE, in three of San Mateo County’s larger high school districts dropped from 312 to 169 for the 2007-2008 school year, according to data analyzed by The Examiner. 

The percentage of students that didn’t pass the test has also slimmed: altogether, 4.6 percent of students at the districts – Sequoia High School District, South San Francisco Unified School District, and Jefferson High School District — didn’t pass the test in the class of 2008, compared to 9.1 percent for 2007.

The progress in San Mateo is also favorable compared to the rates for students overall across the state.

Among California seniors in the class of 2008, 90.2 percent had passed the exam before graduation ceremonies last spring, according to state data, down from 93.3 percent in the Class of 2007.

San Mateo also did not see the same negative impact to its overall passage rates by the first-time mandate that special education students also pass the state exam in order to receive a high school diploma.

Students begin taking the CAHSEE during their sophomore year, and if they don’t pass, they have several other chances within their junior and senior years.

At Jefferson High School District in Daly City, 39 students – just under 3 percent of all high school students failed the test, according to Richard Boitano, Associate Superintendent for Education. Of those, he said, 21 were English learners, the “vast majority” of whom passed the math portion of the test, he said. Many of the rest were special education students, he said.

Last year, twice as many seniors in the failed the test.

“I think they’re beginning to take this seriously,” Boitano said.

In addition to seniors, more 10th grade students in San Mateo County this year passed the test on their first attempt than before.

At San Mateo Union High School District, about 89 percent of sophomores passed both the English and math components of the test, up from 2007, when 86 percent passed the English test and 84 passed the math.

The district was unable to provide the number of students in the Class of 2008 who didn’t pass, but Superintendent David Miller said the numbers appeared to be up.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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