FAQs

  1. What is the CHSPE?
  2. How can the Certificate of Proficiency be used?
  3. When can someone take the CHSPE?
  4. Where can someone take the CHSPE?
  5. Who may take the CHSPE?
  6. How does someone register for the CHSPE?
  7. How do students find out about the CHSPE?
  8. How do students who receive a Certificate of Proficiency affect the dropout rate?
  9. How can a district access CHSPE results?
  10. How are the General Educational Development (GED) tests different from the CHSPE?
  11. How is the California High School Exit Exam different from the CHSPE?
  12. What are my options if I do not pass the CHSPE?
  13. Do I need to retake the whole examination if I have passed a section or subtest?
  14. Is there a limit to the number of times I can retest?
  15. How much does it cost to reregister?
  16. If I retest, what will be on my score report?
  17. Will passing the CHSPE qualify me for college admissions?
  18. On the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), question #26 asks, "When you begin college in the upcoming school year, what will be your high school completion status?" Which option should I select?
  19. Can students who earn a CHSPE Certificate of Proficiency qualify for federal financial aid under the new “Ability-to-Benefit” rules taking effect July 1, 2012?
  20. I currently have no photographic identification and I am homeschooled. How can I acquire acceptable photographic identification for the upcoming test administration?

  1. What is the CHSPE?

    The California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) is a voluntary test that assesses proficiency in basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills taught in public schools. Eligible persons who pass the CHSPE are awarded a Certificate of Proficiency by the California State Board of Education. The test is given in English only.


  2. How can the Certificate of Proficiency be used?

    California law requires that the Certificate of Proficiency be equivalent to a high school diploma. A student who receives a Certificate of Proficiency may, with verified parental approval, leave high school early. The Certificate of Proficiency, however, is not equivalent to completing all course work required for regular graduation from high school. If a student is planning to continue his or her studies in a college or university, they should contact the admissions office of the institution they plan to attend so that the student may understand that institutions admission requirements including whether or not the Certificate of Proficiency will be sufficient for admission.


  3. When can someone take the CHSPE?

    The CHSPE is offered three times a year. There is an administration once in each semester and once in the summer.


  4. Where can someone take the CHSPE?

    There are over 60 test centers throughout California. Some counties do not include a test center and other counties have more than one test center. A list of the counties and test areas may be found on the Locations page or in the Information Bulletin.


  5. Who may take the CHSPE?

    A person may take the CHSPE only if he or she meets one of the following requirements on the test date:

    • He or she is at least 16 years old, or
    • He or she has been enrolled in the tenth grade for one academic year or longer, or
    • He or she will complete one academic year of enrollment in the tenth grade at the end of the semester during which the CHSPE regular administration (spring or fall) will be conducted.

  6. How does someone register for the CHSPE?

    Individuals must complete and submit by mail a CHSPE Registration Form with proof of eligibility and a cashier’s check or money order for proper payment. Registration procedures and a registration form are located in the Information Bulletin.


  7. How do students find out about the CHSPE?

    California Code of Regulations, Title 5, requires the principal of each school that includes grades 11 and 12 to distribute to each student in those grades an announcement explaining the CHSPE. Distribution shall be made in sufficient time to enable interested students to meet all examination registration requirements for the fall test of that year.


  8. How do students who receive a Certificate of Proficiency affect the dropout rate?

    Students who receive a Certificate of Proficiency are not recorded as dropouts on the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CALPADS) reports. Students earning a Certificate of Proficiency who sign out of high school are not coded as "graduates," but are coded as "completers" with school completions status "330 – Passed CHSPE." CHSPE may serve as an alternative to dropping out of school for students who intend to leave school prior to graduation or for students who have insufficient credits to graduate.


  9. How can a district access CHSPE results?

    A list of students who passed the CHSPE since April 2004 is available on the CHSPE Web site. In order to obtain a password that will allow a school district to access this Web site and download school district files, the district superintendent must designate a CHSPE District Contact by sending in the Superintendent's Designation of a District Contact Form (available on the CHSPE District Portal) and fax this form to Educational Data Systems (EDS). The fax number is 408-776-7696. EDS will provide the designated contact person with a password and downloading procedures through e-mail.


  10. How are the General Educational Development (GED) tests different from the CHSPE?

    To take the GED a person must be eighteen years old or, under certain circumstances, a seventeen-year-old may qualify. The GED tests measure a student’s knowledge in four content areas including: Reasoning through Language Arts, Mathematical Reasoning; Science; and Social Studies. The tests are given in English, Spanish, and French throughout the United States and in Canada. A High School Equivalency Certificate is issued. For more information on the GED, contact your local adult school, community college, or visit the GED Web site.


  11. How is the California High School Exit Exam different from the CHSPE?

    The California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) is a high school graduation requirement for all public school students beginning in the 2005-2006 school year. The CAHSEE graduation requirement is mandated by California law and does not allow for students to leave high school early if they pass. Students who pass the CAHSEE and want to graduate from high school also must meet all local and state graduation requirements. All California public school students must first take the CAHSEE in the tenth grade. For more information on the CAHSEE, speak to your school counselor and/or go to the CAHSEE Web site.


  12. What are my options if I do not pass the CHSPE?

    Due to the use of a new test series, you will have to pass all sections of the new test series beginning in October 2014. Please refer to the second paragraph of #13 for additional information.


  13. Do I need to retake the whole examination if I have passed a section or subtest?

    If you are taking the March 22, 2014 exam you do not have to retake a section or subtest that you have passed. *You may retake any part of the test you have not passed; that is the Mathematics section, the Reading subtest, and/or the Language subtest (on the Language subtest, both the writing task and the language multiple-choice questions must be completed at the same administration.)

    *As of May 1, 2014, the current California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) test series will change. Examinees who have not yet earned a Certificate of Proficiency by May 1, 2014 will need to begin the testing process again in the new test series. Sections and subtests previously passed will cease to be valid.


  14. Is there a limit to the number of times I can retest?

    No. There is no limit to the number of times you may take the CHSPE, but you must register and pay the current test fee each time.


  15. How much does it cost to reregister?

    You must complete a Registration Form and pay the total test fee each time you take any section or subtest. The cost to register is dependent upon when your completed registration materials are received by the CHSPE Office.


  16. If I retest, what will be on my score report?

    If you retest, your score report will show your most recent performance on the section(s) or subtest(s) you have taken.


  17. Will passing the CHSPE qualify me for college admissions?

    CHSPE meets the requirement of California state universities that an applicant have a high school diploma or equivalent. California state universities also require, however, that applicants have a certain number of units in several courses of study including social science, English, mathematics, laboratory science, and others. Applicants who have not yet completed the requisite units may complete their units at a community college. Units completed at a community college add up more quickly than high school units. One semester of community college is equal to one full year of study in high school.


  18. On the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), question #26 asks, "When you begin college in the upcoming school year, what will be your high school completion status?" Which option should I select?

    In California, your Certificate of Proficiency is the legal equivalent of a high school diploma. Confirmation of high school completion is often required as part of the admissions and enrollment process. Make sure you keep a copy of your Certificate of Proficiency available in case your college or university requests it.


  19. Can students who earn a CHSPE Certificate of Proficiency qualify for federal financial aid under the new "Ability-to-Benefit" rules taking effect July 1, 2012?

    Yes. According to the U.S. Department of Education and Federal Student Aid publication, the 2012–13 Federal Student Aid Handbook; Volume 1 – Student Eligibility; page 7:

    "The Department (U.S. Department of Education and Federal Student Aid) recognizes several equivalents to a high school diploma:

    • A GED;
    • A certificate demonstrating that the student has passed a state-authorized examination (for example, the California High School Proficiency Exam) that the state recognizes as the equivalent of a high school diploma;..."1

    1U.S. Department of Education and Federal Student Aid. 2012. 2012–13 Federal Student Aid Handbook; Volume 1 – Student Eligibility. http://www.ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/attachments/1213FSAHbkVol1.pdf (accessed May 18, 2012). Parenthesis added for clarity.


  20. I currently have no photographic identification and I am homeschooled. How can I acquire acceptable photographic identification for the upcoming test administration?

    If the homeschool you attend is listed in the Private School Directory then you may have your school create a photographic identification for you. Complete the school letter of identification using the template and instructions provided. Your homeschool may make their own letterhead if necessary and may use a signature rather than a seal across the photograph onto the page. You must bring your homeschool's R-4 Private School Affidavit with you to the test site and present it along with your school letter of identification.

    If the homeschool you attend is not listed in the Private School Directory, your school may file their R-4 Private School Affidavit at any time at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/ps/rq/affidavit.asp. The school simply fills out the form and prints the resulting document. This document is the R-4 Private School Affidavit which must accompany any identification produced by the school.