There have been recent changes in State law concerning high school graduation and diploma requirements. What follows is intended to clarify how Piedmont Unified and the Piedmont Adult School are implementing these changes concerning the State of California’s High School Exit Exam.
Until recently, the State of California administered a high school exit exam in English, Language Arts, and Mathematics (“the CAHSEE”). All students were required to pass the CAHSEE, to demonstrate their proficiency with State academic standards, in order to graduate from high school and receive a diploma. Over the years, 100% of students at PHS and MHS passed the CAHSEE. The PUSD Adult School Program also administered the CAHSEE to adults seeking to earn a high school diploma. From time to time, these students struggled to pass the exam.
In August 2015, the State Legislature changed the law to specify that the CAHSEE would no longer be a requirement for graduation or a diploma. Consistent with this change, the CAHSEE is no longer administered. This has little impact on Piedmont High School and Millennium High School students, but it is significant for students enrolled in the Piedmont Adult School.
With one limited exception, this change in graduation requirements will take effect on January 1, 2016. The one exception is that students who completed or will complete 12th grade in 2015 and who meet all other high school graduation requirements may graduate and receive a diploma now, before the January 1, 2016.
This limited exception fails to account for other similarly-situated students, such as those who in prior years completed 12th grade and all high school graduation requirements other than passage of the CAHSEE. These students, primarily those in the PUSD Adult School Program, would be required to wait until January 1, 2016 to graduate and receive a high school diploma. In many cases, those students are having to delay academic and employment opportunities until January.
Recognizing both the need to award diplomas to Piedmont’s Adult Education students who are otherwise eligible, and the interest in treating similarly situated students the same regardless of the year in which they satisfied their graduation requirements, Piedmont’s Board of Education approved a local policy to address these needs and interests. Under the new policy, the District will award high school diplomas now to all students in the Adult School’s Adult Education program who have met all graduation requirements other than the CAHSEE, regardless of the year of completion. The District is not waiting until January 1 to do so.
If you have questions or comments about this, please contact Michael Brady, Director of Adult Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.