Publication Date

Summer 2008

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Mexican American Studies


Pizarro, Marcos

Subject Areas

Educational tests and measurements; Ethnic studies


This thesis addresses the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE) and its effects on Raza students. The objective is to understand the relationship between the preparation for the CAHSEE and the preparation of students to become complete learners. This study finds that the emphasis placed on the CAHSEE forced teachers to change their curriculum to focus on the exam, taking away from students' overall quality of education. Intervention courses created to ensure passage of the exam, limit students' exposure to classes as well as on higher order and critical thinking skills. This study also finds that the CAHSEE negatively affects English language learners because they are at a disadvantage due to their lack of mainstream academic language. This study recommends California look into alternate forms of assessment that would ensure that all students have the skills necessary to succeed after high school while narrowing the achievement gap.