Temecula sophomores topped their peer averages in Riverside County and statewide when it came to passing their California High School Exit Exam at a rate of 93 percent district-wide.
All students in California must take the exit exam during their sophomore year. They have two more opportunities to pass it in the 11th grade and three chances as seniors. The class of 2006 was the first graduating class in California that was required to meet the exit exam requirement.
The test is administered for two subjects: English-Language Arts and Mathematics. Students can take their CAHSEEs during one of seven dates over the course of a school year.
Sophomores at high schools in the passed their ELA tests at a rate of 93 percent district-wide during the 2011-2012 school year and math tests at a rate of 92 percent, according to preliminary results released Wednesday by the California Department of Education.
The year prior, 92 percent of Temecula sophomores passed both their ELA and math tests district-wide, so an improvement of one percentage point was seen on the English portion of the test.
"We're pleased to see a high percentage of our students passing the CAHSEE," said Melanie Norton, spokesperson for the Temecula Valley Unified School District. "Our schools have worked hard to put intervention programs in place to make sure students are grasping the basics. The key is to catch students early if they're beginning to struggle so that they don't fall too far behind."
Broken out by high school, 94 percent of sophomores at passed their English test, followed by 93 percent at and 91 percent at , according to the state data. Sophomores enrolled in the district's independent study program, , passed at a rate of 95 percent. No English test percentage was available for the district's continuation high school, .
On the math portion of the test, 94 percent of Great Oak 10th graders passed, followed by 93 percent at Chaparral and 91 percent at Temecula Valley, state data showed. Eighty-one percent of Susan H. Nelson sophomores passed, while 64 percent of 10th graders at Rancho Vista passed.
County-wide, improvement was seen. Eighty-three percent passed both the English and math portions of the test. In the previous academic year, 10th graders countywide had a pass rate of 82 percent in math and English.
Statewide, 84 percent of 10th graders passed the math portion of the test, while 83 percent passed the English half.
Figures were released by the California Department of Education, which reported that 95 percent of students in the class of 2012 across the state passed the overall exam, up 0.8 percent from last year.
"When 95 percent of California students are hitting the mark—despite the tremendous challenges we face and the work we still have to do—there's an awful lot going right in our public schools," said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction. "I congratulate the students who succeeded on this test, the teachers who provided invaluable instruction, and the parents who gave their support and encouragement."
Torlakson noted that the achievement gap between Hispanic and white students has narrowed by 12.5 percentage points from the class of 2006 and the class of 2014—this year's 10th graders—on the English portion of the test and 12.9 percentage points on the math section.
The gap between black and white students shrank over that same time period by 7.5 percentage points in English and 10.5 points in math statewide.
In Temecula, 93 percent of female 10th graders who took the math test passed, compared to 92 percent of males. In English 96 of females passed, while 89 percent of males did.
Broken down according to reported race and ethnicity, 98 percent of Filipino 10th graders in Temecula Valley Unified passed math, as did 96 percent of Asians, 96 of whites, 88 percent of Hispanic or Latinos, 83 percent of Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders and 80 percent of black or African Americans. Ninety-one percent of those who identify themselves as two or more races passed the math portion of the test.
On the English portion of the test, 96 percent of white sophomores in Temecula's public high schools passed, as did 96 percent of Filipinos, 92 percent of Asians, 89 percent of Hispanic or Latinos, 84 percent of blacks or African Americans, 83 percent of American Indian or Alaska natives and 83 percent of Hawaiian or Pacific Islanders. Ninety-four percent of students identified as two or more races passed the English exam.
According to county-level data, economically disadvantaged students had a 79 percent pass rate on the math test and a 77 percent rate on the English half, compared to a 90 percent rate in math and 91 percent rate in English for children who come from households not at the poverty level.
—City News Service contributed to this report.