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Predicting Success, Preventing Failure: An Investigation of the California High School Exit Exam
Andrew C. Zau and Julian R. Betts

June 2008

Many educators, parents, and policymakers continue to call for reforms to the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), citing concern about the 10 percent of California students who do not graduate because of their failure to pass the test. By law, current funding for tutoring those at risk of failing the CAHSEE is targeted at those in grade 12 and beyond. But is this the best use of limited resources? The authors suggest that earlier interventions are possible and are likely to be more effective. Using the San Diego Unified School District as a test case, they are able to predict passage of the CAHSEE as early as grade 4. Based on these findings, the authors offer new approaches to funding CAHSEE-related programs.