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About the CHSPE


The CHSPE consists of two test sections: English Language Arts and Mathematics

You must pass both sections to receive a Certificate of Proficiency

The English Language Arts section consists of two subtests: Language and Reading. To pass the English Language Arts section, you must pass both subtests. 


For additional information on the test sections and question areas,
please review the CHSPE Test Specifications document found on the Resources page of the website.


For additional information on the Writing Task and how it is scored,
please review the CHSPE Writing Task Rubric document, found on the Resources page of the website.


If you pass both sections of the CHSPE, the California State Board of Education will award you a Certificate of Proficiency, which by state law is equivalent to a high school diploma (although not equivalent to completing all coursework required for regular graduation from high school).

You must pass both sections to receive a Certificate of Proficiency,
which is the legal equivalent of a high school diploma.


Although federal agencies are not bound by state laws, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management has ruled that the Certificate of Proficiency shall be accepted in applications for federal civilian employment.


The U.S. Department of Education, including the Federal Student Aid Office, recognizes the CHSPE as the equivalent of a high school diploma in applications for federal financial aid. All persons and institutions subject to California law that require a high school diploma for any purpose must accept the certificate as satisfying the requirement.

Important Notice – Please be aware of the following information:

For those who have not yet earned a Certificate of Proficiency, all portions of the CHSPE passed from the April 2004 test administration remain valid for the purpose of earning a Certificate of Proficiency. 


Results on the CHSPE taken prior to January 2004 cannot be combined with results on the CHSPE taken after January 2004.

Testing Time

Tesing Time

A total of 3.5 hours of testing time will be provided to take the CHSPE. No part of the exam is timed within the 3.5 hours, and you may spend as much time as you like on any portion until the testing session ends. You are responsible for managing your own use of the testing time.

Administration Options

Test Administration Options

On a test administration date, you can take the:

  • Mathematics section

  • English Language Arts Language subtest

  • English Language Arts Reading subtest

  • Any combination of the three

You can make that decision on the day of the test.


The test fee, however, is the same regardless of which parts of the test you take.

Passing the CHSPE

Passing the CHSPE

To pass the CHSPE and receive a Certificate of Proficiency, you must pass both the Mathematics section and the English Language Arts section (which requires passing the Language subtest and the Reading subtest). You do not have to pass both sections on the same day, nor do you have to pass the two English Language Arts subtests on the same day. (Note that, on the Language subtest, both the multiple-choice questions and the writing task must be completed at the same test administration.) 


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. For additional information on passing scores, please review the CHSPE Test Specifications document on the Resources page of the website.

Attending School After Passing the CHSPE

Attending School After Passing CHSPE

Passing the CHSPE does not, by itself, exempt minors from attending school. Minors who have a Certificate of Proficiency must also have verified parent/guardian permission to stop attending school. Many students who pass the CHSPE continue to attend school. State law provides that, if you leave school after passing the CHSPE and are less than eighteen years old, you may reenroll in the district in which you reside with no adverse consequences. If you reenroll and then leave school again, you may be denied re-admittance until the beginning of the following semester. Contact your guidance counselor or school administrator for further information and details about attending school after passing the CHSPE.

Dropping out of school after registering for the CHSPE or while awaiting results is unlawful for those under eighteen years old. It may also result in failing grades for courses in which you are enrolled.

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