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Dorn Approves English Course Equivalency
Will allow students to satisfy two graduation requirements in one class

OLYMPIA — JUNE 28, 2016 — Secondary students who choose courses in the Career and Technical Education (CTE) arena can now utilize the courses to satisfy not one, but two, graduation requirements.

Known as “course equivalencies,” the classes meet both CTE requirements as well as math, science or English language arts requirements.

Course equivalencies give students academic knowledge along with real-world applications.

This past week, State Superintendent Randy Dorn approved the first English language arts course equivalency, Core Plus English.

“Course equivalencies give students core academic knowledge along with real-world applications,” Dorn said.

Course equivalencies for high school graduation began in the 2015-16 school year, after the passage of Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 6552. While they have existed since 2008, the course equivalencies qualified only as advanced placement courses until E2SB 6552.

Dr. Ken Emmil, OSPI’s assistant superintendent for career and College readiness, noted the increase in graduation rates among students in CTE programs. “Among our vulnerable student population categories, graduation rates can be 10 to 15 percentage points lower than their peers,” he said.

“For example, students in the Class of 2013, about two out of every three Hispanic and black students graduated from a Washington high school. For those students who focused on CTE programs, the graduation rates for both groups of students was four out of five.”

Course equivalencies are designed with a curriculum that ensures students gain core academic knowledge applicable to required career and technical education credit. Because the courses satisfy two graduation requirements, students have more power and control in defining their own future, as well as more flexibility in decision making.

For math and science, Dorn recommends specific courses for equivalencies to the State Board of Education. The Board reviews the recommendation, allows for public comment and then approves.

As of 2015-16, more than 30 course equivalencies have been approved by the State Board. Examples include Engineering Design 1, residential carpentry and biomedical sciences.

Districts also can approve local course equivalencies. Emmil, though, recommends that “school districts utilize state approved courses whenever possible as they provide a layer of continuity for those students transitioning between schools within a school year.”

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About OSPI
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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Nathan Olson
Communications Manager
(360) 725-6015 |

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015


   Updated 7/14/2016

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