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High Schools Prepare for State Exit Exam

High schools in the Long Beach Unified School District have moved quickly this fall to help students prepare for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE), which students must pass to earn a diploma as of 2004. All ninth and tenth graders are taking a mock exit exam this month in their English and math classes. Teachers will receive an analysis of the results to guide additional preparation. Newly provided prep materials - including end-of-course exams, test warm-up questions, CAHSEE state guides, course outlines, writing portfolios and other items - will assist teachers and students. Further preparations include the reduction of class sizes to 20 students in ninth and tenth grade reading, and in ninth grade Algebra A-B. The Algebra A-B classes will be supported by a math coach who will assist teachers. Ninth graders reading below the 25th percentile on last spring's Stanford 9 are being assigned to a reading development class as an elective, in addition to their smaller, 20-student English classes. By the end of October, after-school tutorials or Saturday School to support reading, English/ELD and math instruction will be provided to English Language Learners at each high school. The extra help is part of the state's required catch-up plan each district must provide to English Language Learners. Elementary and middle schools also are boosting literacy and math instruction to prepare students for the exam well ahead of time. The Board of Education this week also adopted tougher fifth grade promotion standards that increase reading requirements and call for proficiency on basic math facts.