Early Graduation For California High School Learners

Early Graduation for California High School Learners

We all hear the tales of those “geniuses” who graduate high school early, top of their class, and continue on to college or university and excel past all other learners. But really, any individual that lacks intellect and has a low IQ belongs in high school. Or do they?

Can you Graduate High School Early In California?

Yes, you can! To do so, you must meet all requirements for graduation and be recommended by your school principal and counselor. But there’s a hitch: If you are not yet 18 years old when the semester starts in which you officially graduate from high school, you may not attend regular daytime classes at a college or university unless that institution has received written notification that you have graduated from high school. That means if you plan to start college prior to receiving your diploma, check with the admission office first before enrolling. Most schools allow 16-year-olds to take evening or weekend classes during their junior year because they cannot legally apply for an attendance permit until they are 16½.

Your right to apply for an attendance permit under Education Code 48260 (governing the issuance of regular permits) ends on your eighteenth birthday. To be granted a permit after you turn 18, you must meet all conditions for receiving such a permit from the school district in which you live.

Note that this restriction does not apply to students who are home-schooled or have been expelled and do not intend to pursue a high school diploma. Admission policies may vary by college/university, consult with yours before enrolling if you fall into one of these categories.

For further information about graduation rules or attendance permits, please contact your principal’s office at your local high school or counselor’s office at your area middle or junior high school.

The California High School Proficiency Examination

Whoa, that seems like an awfully difficult name, and is that even a thing? Perhaps, you have never heard of it before either, and then you did some googling, and it turns out it is legit. Additionally, the California High School Proficiency Exam, or CHSPE, is an examination that the state of California offers to learners currently enrolled in high school. In essence, learners who pass the examination are issued a certificate that counts as the legal equivalent of a diploma. This means that these learners can leave their high schools, given that their parents’ consent. From there, they can proceed to a local community college or university and begin their path as a transfer student to a four-year university. Notably, the only requirements are to have finished 10th grade or be at least 16 years old.

But What is Contained on CHSPE?

The most baffling aspect of the examination is just how elementary and easy it really is. It only covers two subjects: Math and English. What’s even funnier is just how basic the test is. The examination can be broken down into three parts, starting with reading and comprehension, where texts are given, and a learner must demonstrate that he/she can understand and analyze basic texts. Next comes the language portion, where learners must show that they can accurately utilize grammar structures, punctuation, and then they have to write a short essay on a particular topic. This covers the English portion, after which comes the math. The math part covers topics ranging from basic number operations to basic geometry.

Literally, the examination is designed so that any average freshman in high school, or even an excelling eighth-grader, could easily pass. Just knowing some geometry, being able to understand basic English, and having the capability to write comprehensively are all the requirements to pass the CHSPE and go to college.

It Is Not the Same Thing as the General Education Diploma

This is where confusion might arise. The General Education Diploma or GED is another examination that can be used to exit high school early. The major difference here is that the General Education Diploma actually tests not in two, but in four different subject areas. In addition to English and mathematics, the GED tests in science and in social studies. In short, this GED exam is more well-rounded, and learners who pass demonstrate their knowledge of high school courses and are more up to par with any average high school graduate. The CHSPE tests the bare minimum that learners should learn during their high school experience. Despite the General Education Diploma testing more, they both give out the same value, equivalent to a high school diploma.
How To Graduate High School In California

While the CHSPE is a shorter exam and includes fewer subjects, the GED provides more scheduling options. Additionally, the GED is used across the country, while the CHSPE is only offered to California residents. This means that any student who passed one or more sections of the test in a different state can complete their General Education Diploma in California by taking only those sections he/she did not pass, instead of starting over with the CHSPE.

Whereas there are a few CHSPE preparation books accessible (and LA Instructors has developed its own CHSPE curriculum), resources are limited. Additionally, the only free, official materials are a limited number of sample queries on the CHSPE website. Since the General Education Diploma has been around longer and is utilized by more states, there are a lot of preparation materials available for it. Additionally, the GED website provides a free online preparation program and practice test to help learners determine if they are ready for the real test.

Officially, both the GED and CHSPE are given the same weight as a high school diploma. Nevertheless, learners who wish to go on to college or trade school may also have to meet prerequisite requirements. Although the CHSPE does not have social studies or science section, certificate holders may have to demonstrate their understanding of these subjects through their high school coursework or by passing a school placement test or other examination(s).

Furthermore, most educational institutions and employers value a high school diploma based on coursework more highly than an equivalency certificate earned from excelling in an examination. While both show a level of educational proficiency, a conventional diploma offers more evidence of “soft skills,” like turning in required assignments and attending class frequently. While leaving school and attaining an equivalency certificate may be a good choice for some learners, those who have an option should think carefully before making the decision to drop out.

What’s the Benefit of Graduating High School Earlier?

There are numerous reasons for deciding to graduate early. Some learners may find high school to be too slow of an environment and would rather get ahead to begin on their college studies. Other learners could be struggling with their classes, and choosing to take the CHSPE would allow them to begin from a fresh slate at a local community college. This examination could also be used for home-schooled learners to complete their personalized course at age sixteen and then continue their academics in a college. The other group of people who really benefit from the examination is prospective actors in high school, who, after excelling in the examination, can exit school and continue their careers in the entertainment industry. Additionally, learners who pass this exam also lose all restrictions regarding minors and labor laws. The examination gives the so-called “Legal 18” status, which essentially exempts learners from any labor laws concerning minors.

Of course, there also remains the chance to pursue anything else apart from college. Learners excelling in the exam are no longer bound by regulation to attend school and, ergo, can typically do whatever they please (The only boundary is not being 18). This aspect of the examination could fit perfectly for teenagers wanting to pursue other passions, like starting a business, going to work for a company, traveling the world, or pursuing other hobbies and passions. A lot of learners would like to pursue other things but are bound by legalities to attend school. Oftentimes learners should be pursuing passions and work outside of school, and the CHSPE is a great chance for those teenagers who are being held back by the limitations at school.

It’s Not for Every Individual

High School Graduation California
In the end, exiting high school is not for everybody. There are many students that thrive, or even pass, in their high school environments. These kinds of learners also often choose to attend prestigious universities straight out of high school, and in these situations, this exam is definitely not the right path. High school has many great offerings, as well as clubs, sports, AP classes, and everything else that the public associates as the general “High School Experience”. And to be fair, learners graduating earlier are going to miss out on some of those opportunities and experiences, especially prom. But this eventually comes down to the values of the individual learners. Those who would like to take the chance to jump at getting ahead in their college life, or those learners who have different interests and school limits their opportunities, these are the kind of learners that should seriously consider exiting high school early and going on to pursue their dreams. Ultimately, high school is not for everybody.

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