Dorn’s Assessment Bill to Be Heard in House
OLYMPIA — February 3, 2015 — The Legislature today will hear three bills that attempt to clarify our state’s complicated graduation assessment requirements and ensure the money and time we spend on testing is effective.
House Bills 1363, 1703, and 1785 address Washington’s testing issue in different ways. State Superintendent Randy Dorn requested HB 1785, which eliminates the requirement for students to pass exit exams to be eligible to graduate from high school. Instead, 11th graders who do not meet standard on the new Smarter Balanced tests must take and pass courses in their senior year that align with their college or career goals, including high school transition courses.
This shift would allow students to spend time acquiring the skills they need for success after high school rather than retesting, and would save the state approximately $14.6 million annually.
“The bills under consideration show how important it is that we do something about testing this year,” Dorn said. “I believe that my bill is the best of the three; it provides clear guidance for students who don’t pass the state exams.
“But I’m pleased that both the Governor and the Legislature are taking the issue seriously. It’s important that we keep the focus on rigor and that our assessment system does what it’s intended to do: identify areas where students need more help.”
In the 2013-14 school year, 24 states, including Washington, required high school students to pass exit exams to be eligible to graduate. Traditionally, Washington’s exit exams are administered to 10th graders, to allow students ample time to retest or access test alternatives if they do not pass the first time. HB 1785 would eliminate the need for retesting.
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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 provides equal access to all programs and services without discrimination based on sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability. Questions and complaints of alleged discrimination should be directed to the Equity and Civil Rights Director at (360) 725-6162 or P.O. Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200.
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