What is the CHSPE?
The CHSPE is the California High School Proficiency Examination. By taking and successfully passing the CHSPE, the State of California Board of Education will legally confer upon you a Certificate of Proficiency, which is the equivalent of a high school diploma. While the Certificate of Proficiency is not a confirmation that you have completed all the same coursework that other students who graduate from high school are required to complete, it does, however, meet the requirement of a high school diploma for any person or business that is subject to California law and that requires you to have a high school diploma for some reason, for example, as a job qualification. A Certificate of Proficiency is also acceptable as part of a federal civilian employment application. Because the CHSPE is only relevant to California’s high school curriculum, it is important that California residents applying to colleges in other states first confirm that those out-of-state colleges will recognize the CHSPE as a legitimate degree.
In order to take the CHSPE you must meet certain eligibility criteria. The requirements state that, as of the examination date, you must:
- be at least 16 years old, or
- have spent at least one academic year enrolled in the 10th grade, or
- be completing at least one academic year in which you are enrolled in the 10th grade by the end of the semester after which the next expected fall or spring administration will commence.
It is not unusual for students who have passed the CHSPE to continue attending school. Minors must continue to attend school even if they have earned their Certificate of Proficiency, or unless they have received parental/guardian permission to leave school. Those students under age 18 who have passed the CHSPE and left school are permitted to go back to the same school district if they wish. To fully understand all the consequences involved in leaving school after passing the CHSPE, you should speak with a guidance counselor or other school official who can provide full details.
The CHSPE tests two primary areas and is separated in two sections: English-language Arts and Mathematics. You are allotted a total of 3 ½ hours to complete the CHSPE although you do not have to take both tests at the same time. However, in order to receive your Certificate of Proficiency, you must pass both the English-language Arts and Mathematics sections of the CHSPE. While there is no limit to the number of times you can take the CHSPE, you must register and pay for the test each time you take it.
There are two parts to the English-language Arts test, covering the subjects of Language and Reading. In order to successfully pass the English-language Arts section of the CHSPE, you must pass both the Language and Reading sub-tests. The Language sub-test consists of 48 multiple-choice questions as well as a writing test. The purpose of the multiple choice questions is to test the individual’s abilities with language mechanics and expression. The objective of the written essay portion of the test is to measure your writing proficiency. The Reading sub-test can be taken separately from the Language sub-test. This test consists of a series of multiple-choice questions: 30 on vocabulary and 54 on reading comprehension. The reading comprehension test employs three different types of text, literary, functional, and informational, to test your comprehension, interpretation, critical analysis, and strategies relating to the passage you have read. The vocabulary portion of the Reading sub-test assesses your knowledge of synonyms, words with multiple meanings, and word context.
The Mathematics portion tests a variety of areas. It consists of 50 multiple-choice questions that cover the areas of patterns, relationships and algebra; data, statistics and probability; number sense and operations; and geometry and measurement. You will also be tested on communication and representation in mathematical processes, reasoning and problem-solving, estimation, and mathematical connections.
Registration for the CHSPE
In order to take the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) you must complete the registration process by mailing a Registration Form, proof of eligibility, and proper payment to the CHSPE Office at the Sacramento County Office of Education by the Regular, Late, or Emergency deadline date for the test you wish to take.
The Registration Form is available online at the official CHSPE website: www.chspe.net
Registrants can either complete and submit the form online or download a copy of the form from the Information Bulletin located on the website. By submitting the Registration Form online, your information is sent to the CHSPE Office electronically. It is important to note, however, that by completing this first step online, you have not yet finished the registration process. A PDF copy of your Registration Form will appear after you hit the “Submit Registration Form” button online. Print this form, and review it for accuracy. If necessary, you can make hand-written corrections directly on the form.
In addition to the Registration Form, you must also submit proof of eligibility. If you will be at least age 16 on the test date, you can verify your eligibility one of two ways: by either Method A or Method B. Method A requires you to submit a copy of a specific document that indicates your name and date of birth. Examples of such documents include: your driver’s license, a city-, county-, or state-issued U.S. certified birth certificate, or the page from your passport indicating your name and birth date, among others. Method B requires completion of the School Eligibility Verification section of the Registration Form by your high school principal, director, vice principal, counselor, registrar, or separately-identified site administrator. The school’s County-District-School (CDS) code must be included. Whoever completes the School Eligibility Verification section of the Form must also affix an official school seal or attach a Private School Affidavit. Note, if you will be under age 16 as of the test date, you must use Method B as your proof of eligibility.
If you require a special arrangement for taking the test, you must complete an Accommodations Request form and obtain specific documentation to substantiate your request. Examples of special arrangements include a physical access or seating need, an accommodation for the test setting, presentation, or timing, or a Sunday test date due to religious convictions that will not allow you to take the test on a Saturday.
The CHSPE registration fees are as follows: Regular Registration - $110, Late Registration - $135, and Emergency Registration - $160. Payment for the CHSPE must be made in the form of a bank-issued cashier’s check or money order payable to the California Department of Education. The registrant’s name must be printed on the face of the check or money order. Payment by cash, personal check, or credit/debit card is not acceptable. The registration fees are not refundable. However, if you withdraw your registration prior to the Regular Registration Deadline, you may receive a partial refund. You will be assessed an additional fee of $25 in the event your initial payment does not clear. Your account must be clear and all fees paid in full in order for you to receive your examination results or register to take another examination.
Once you have completed the Registration Form, obtained the requisite Proof of Eligibility, prepared proper payment, and, if necessary, completed the Accommodations Request form with appropriate documentation attached, you must mail everything to the CHSPE Office to ensure the CHSPE receives it by 5:00 p.m. of the applicable deadline date. The address for the CHSPE Office is shown on the Registration Form. You will receive an email or letter in U.S. mail acknowledging receipt of your registration documentation. If your Registration Form is incomplete or unsigned, or does not include proof of eligibility or proper payment, it will be returned to you unprocessed.
In order to ensure you are fully prepared and eligible to take the California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE), it is important to understand and comply with specific requirements both on and prior to the test date.
The CHSPE Office will issue you an Admission Ticket once they have processed your registration documents. You should receive your Admission Ticket in the mail approximately three weeks prior to the examination date. If, when you registered, you provided the CHSPE with your email address and set up a password on the CHSPE website, you will be able to print your Admission Ticket from this website. Verify the spelling of your name as it appears on the Admission Ticket. The correct spelling is important because:
- It must match your name on whatever form of photo identification you provide for admission to the test,
- Your Certificate of Proficiency will have your name printed on it the same way it appears on your Admission Ticket, and
- CHSPE should have your name spelled consistently and correctly to give you proper credit in the event you re-register to take some portion of the test again. Verify that the school name and district noted on the Admission Ticket are correct as well, to ensure notification that you have passed the examination is sent to the right location.
The Admission Ticket also designates your specific test date, the name and address of your assigned test location, the time you must report for the examination, and your CHSPE identification number. If any of the information on the Admission Ticket is incorrect, you will need to complete and mail or fax a Registration Information Correction Form to the CHSPE Office. You can also complete this form online at the CHSPE website. You must bring your Admission Ticket with you when reporting for the examination. You will be allowed entry to the examination only at the test site that is designated on your Admission Ticket. Contact the CHSPE Office if you have not received your Admission Ticket within seven days of the examination, or in the event you lost it.
On the day of the examination, you should report to your assigned test site before 8:00 a.m. for check-in. At check-in, in addition to presenting your Admission Ticket, you must present an acceptable, original form of identification which must have been school-, employer-, or city-/state-/federal-government issued and which has both your name and a current photograph of you. Examples of acceptable forms of identification include your driver’s license, passport, U.S. military ID card, high school ID card, or an ID card from your employer. You can also present an official School Letter of Identification with Photo that meets CHSPE criteria. What follows are examples of forms of identification that are considered unacceptable, regardless of if they include your photograph: birth certificate, Social Security card, credit card, notarized statement, photocopy of identification, or membership card (for example to a health club).
Should you arrive after 8:00 a.m., you will not be admitted to the test session if the test administrators have begun the process of reading the test instructions to those present for the examination. The actual testing period will last 3 ½ hours; the full test administration period should end by approximately 1:30 p.m.
If you are taking the CHSPE Mathematics section, you will be allowed to bring and use your own solar- or battery-powered basic, non-programmable, non-scientific, non-statistical calculator. A basic calculator performs the four standard mathematical functions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, and perhaps percentage, square root, and sign change. A test administrator will check your calculator prior to allowing you entry to the test room, to ensure it is acceptable.
Last Updated: 08/20/2013