An analysis of the 2008-09 California High School Exit Exam released earlier this month shows high school students in Milpitas continue to cumulatively outperform their county and statewide counterparts.

According to CAHSEE results for the 737 students tested of the Milpitas Unified School District, 85 percent passed the mathematics section of the test and 86 percent passed the English language arts portion. Of those tested the majority, 725 students, came from Milpitas High School, with the remaining 11 from Community Day School and one from Calaveras Hills Continuation High School.

In comparison, Santa Clara County students narrowly outperformed MUSD in math, coming in at 86 percent, and ranking lower in English language arts at 83 percent. Milpitas students outperformed on the statewide level by a margin, with 80 percent of students passing math and 79 percent passing English language arts.

"If we look at how we're doing, we're higher than the county and state," Betty Pow, Milpitas Unified School District's curriculum and assessment director, said.

Since the CAHSEE took effect at the high school level in 2001, Pow explained there have been slight modifications. For example, in previous years students with disabilities could receive a local waiver from the test. But for the last two years, she said they have been required to pass the CAHSEE.

"I think there's a quite a bit of concern about this particular test for special education students," she said. "It's


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really a big discussion."

According to California Department of Education, the exam's primary objective is to significantly improve pupil achievement in public high schools and to ensure that pupils who graduate from such schools can demonstrate grade level competency in reading, writing and mathematics.

Students are required to take the CAHSEE for the first time in 10th grade and it is these results the state primarily publishes, Pow said.

For those students who do not pass one or both of the two parts, which include mathematics and English language arts, they can take it two times per school year in grade eleven and up to five times per school year in grade twelve.

All California public high school students must satisfy the CAHSEE requirement, as well as other state and local requirements, in order to receive a high school diploma.

Even though the district continues to narrow the gap on achievement in its schools, Pow emphasized local educators continue reaching out to those students not making the mark.

"We focus on the other 14 to 15 percent and getting them in ... support," she said. "It's good to have standards and hold students accountable. This is one measurement of doing that."

To view more test results for Milpitas Unified, visit www.cahsee .cde.ca.gov.