Dorn’s Math and Science Bills to be Heard Today
OLYMPIA — January 24, 2010 — For the second straight year, State Superintendent Randy Dorn is proposing legislation in math and science that bring fairness to students as the state transitions to end-of-course exams in both subjects.
The state Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee will hear testimony on both bills today at 1:30 p.m.
Senate Bill 5227 requests that the state Legislature amend the current math assessment graduation requirement by allowing students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 to pass one end-of-course (EOC) math exam instead of two. That will allow the assessment system to be better aligned in the transition from the High School Proficiency Exam (a single, comprehensive math exam) to two end-of-course exams (algebra 1 and geometry).
“These are end-of-course exams, and that’s when we should first administer them,” Dorn said. “It is not fair to students to take an exam one, two or three years after they’ve taken a course. I think that’s just common sense.”
Most 10th graders in the state this school year are taking a geometry class, and will take the geometry exam in late May or early June. However, those students, as current law stands, will also have to take and pass a makeup exam based on the algebra 1 exam a year after having taken the course. Students currently taking algebra 2 will have to take two EOC makeup exams.
Under Dorn’s proposed legislation, students in the class of 2015 and beyond will be required to pass two EOCs.
Senate Bill 5226 asks the Legislature to postpone the science assessment graduation requirement until the class of 2017. In spring 2012, the state will transition from the science High School Proficiency Exam to an end-of-course exam in biology. The biology exam begins when students in the class of 2013 are 11th graders and are one to two years removed from having taken biology.
In addition, Dorn’s proposed legislation requests that end-of-course exams in physical science and integrated science be implemented in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Students would need to pass only one science EOC to meet the graduation requirement.
Dorn said the creation of additional science EOCs provides students the opportunity to choose the science path that best meets their educational goals.
He also emphasized that it’s unrealistic for the state to expand the assessment system while the Legislature continues to cut the funding for science instruction. In 2009, the state spent $15.6 million on improving science, including $10.6 on teacher professional development. For 2011, that figure stands at $2.8 million – a decrease of nearly $12 million.
“We need to put more emphasis on science instruction in this state if we are expecting students to fulfill a testing graduation requirement,” he said. “I don’t understand how we can expect more if we aren’t willing to even continue the level of funding we were at two years ago.”
A delay in the science graduation requirement will also save the state at least $20 million, the cost of developing and implementing state-approved alternatives for the science exam.
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.
OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.
OSPI Communications Manager
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