Information About Test Sections

ELA Section

The English Language Arts section consists of two subtests:

  • Language

  • Reading

 

To pass the English Language Arts section, you must pass both subtests. (The two subtests do not have to be passed at the same test administration and can be taken separately.)

 

The Language subtest has 48 multiple-choice questions and one writing task, both of which must be completed at the same administration. The multiple-choice questions measure language mechanics and language expression. The writing task requires you to write an expository essay, which will be scored on the basis of writing proficiency and on your ability to address the subject in your essay.

 

The Reading subtest has 54 reading comprehension questions and 30 vocabulary questions, all of which are multiple-choice. The reading comprehension questions test initial understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, and strategies using three types of text: literary, informational, and functional.

The vocabulary questions assess synonyms, multiple-meaning words, and context clues. The chart below shows the number of test questions in each content cluster assessed on the Language and Reading subtests.

Download the number of test questions by content cluster in English language arts

Writing Task

The Language subtest of the English Language Arts section of the CHSPE includes one expository writing task. For the writing task you will be asked to write an essay to explain your opinion about an issue. You will need to provide specific and detailed reasons as support for your opinion.

Sample Writing Task

Some people believe that high school classes should not begin before 9:00 a.m. Do you agree or disagree?

Write an essay clearly explaining your opinion. Provide specific and detailed reasons as support for your opinion.

Writing Task Rubric

5

Essay addresses the writing task in an effective manner. The essay:

  • clearly supports a central idea with appropriate reasoning and specificity; is purposefully organized.

  • demonstrates control of a variety of sentence structures; uses precise word choice.

  • is generally free of errors in grammar, usage, and conventions.

 

4

Essay addresses the writing task in a competent manner. The essay:

  • supports a central idea with adequate reasoning and specificity; is organized.

  • demonstrates control of sentence structure; uses generally appropriate word choice.

  • may have minor errors in grammar, usage, and conventions.

 

3

Essay addresses the writing task in a basic manner. The essay:

  • supports a central idea with reasons and details; has some organization.

  • demonstrates basic control of sentence structure and word choice.

  • may have errors in grammar, usage and conventions, but errors do not cause confusion.

 

2

Essay addresses the writing task in a limited manner. The essay:

  • may not have a clear central idea; may provide limited or irrelevant details; may be poorly organized.

  • may exhibit inadequate control of sentence structure and word choice.

  • may have serious or repeated errors in grammar, usage, and conventions that may cause confusion.

 

1

Essay may or may not address the writing task. The essay:

  • may have no central idea; provides few if any reasons or details.

  • may exhibit little or no control of sentence structure.

  • may have pervasive errors in grammar, usage and/or conventions that cause significant confusion.

 

Scoring Scale © California Department of Education

Download sample responses for different score points

Mathematics Section

The Mathematics section has 50 multiple-choice questions that assess content in the following areas: number sense and operations; patterns, relationships, and algebra; data, statistics, and probability; and geometry and measurement. The questions also assess the mathematical processes of communication and representation, estimation, mathematical connections, and reasoning and problem solving. A reference sheet containing necessary formulas is provided. The chart below shows the number of questions in each content cluster assessed on the Mathematics section.

Download the number of test questions by content cluster in Mathematics

Content produced by the Sacramento County Office of Education for the California Department of Education.

The California High School Proficiency Examination (CHSPE) is a testing program established by California law (Education Code Section 48412).