What You Can Do If You Fail the CAHSEE

California students must pass the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) in order to receive a high school diploma. But what can you do if you reach the end of your senior year and you still haven't passed? Are you left high and dry as a non-graduate?

The CAHSEE was implemented to make sure that all Californians have a certain level of basic knowledge; it wasn't created to weed out underachievers. As such, the California Department of Education wants you to pass the CAHSEE and receive your diploma, and it offers a variety of programs and funding to help you do just that.

You have a great deal of options if you don't quite make it down the aisle at commencement:

  • Receive instruction through the Remedial Supplemental Instruction Program. You can receive intensive instruction and services designed to help you pass the CAHSEE for at least one year following completion of 12th grade.

  • Enroll for another year in a public comprehensive high school or alternative education program. This may involve placement in a comprehensive high school if you have been continuously enrolled in a K-12 school, or at an alternative education program within the school district. You might also be reclassified as a junior to enable you to attend the school for one or more additional years.

  • Enroll in your school's independent study program until you pass the CAHSEE. Districts can provide instruction using the independent study method for students 19 years and older who have been continuously enrolled in a K-12 school since their 18th birthday.

  • Enroll in a public charter school until you pass the CAHSEE, through age 22.

  • Enroll in a California adult school secondary education program. Any adult aged 18 or older may attend an adult school in California, but the number of adult students that can be accepted is limited by a school district's funding.

  • Earn a diploma from a community college that awards high school diplomas through non-credit adult education programs that don't require you to pass the CAHSEE. Some California Community Colleges run non-credit adult education programs and grant high school diplomas similar to the K-12 school system adult education programs.

  • Obtain a diploma through a county court or community school program. County Offices of Education operate County Court and Community Schools for adjudicated youth, wards of the court, and expelled youth. Continuing education may involve a court order and probation.

  • Pass the California High School Proficiency Exam (CHSPE) to obtain a diploma equivalent.

  • Pass the General Educational Development (GED) test to obtain a diploma equivalent. The GED is a national test that lets individuals demonstrate knowledge equivalent to a high school diploma. The test is offered on a fee basis at testing centers throughout the state.

To find out more, wander through the California Department of Education Web site.