Washington students who failed state testing could get a fast-track to their diploma

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From MyNorthwest.com: Thousands of high school students in our state didn’t graduate this year because they failed one of three state-mandated tests required to get a diploma.

Many, including Chris Reykdal, the state superintendent of public instruction, as well as members of the State Board of Education, want the state to eliminate the requirement for one or all of the tests.

Now, after years of debate, lawmakers in Olympia announced they’ve reached a compromise deal expected to come up for votes this week.

Nearly 6,000 Washington high school students didn’t graduate on time this year because they either failed the state required biology test, the math test, or English Language Arts requirements.

“Only recently are the graduating classes held to this standard. Before that, graduation requirements were the same as they’ve always been. Students just needed to pass the classes to earn the credits and pass whatever local requirements were needed for a diploma,” State Rep. Monica Stonier said.

Stonier has been spearheading efforts in the House to resolve the issue. She says that since the test requirements went into effect, students who would otherwise be able to graduate haven’t received a diploma.

The testing requirements are collateral damage from changes to the No Child Left Behind Act passed a few years ago. When the new law was implemented, states were allowed to go back and add their own level of accountability because the federal government no longer required state testing of accountability, Stonier says. “There was push back because these tests didn’t align with the curriculum taught in classrooms,” she said.

The tests have been especially tough for students of color or in poverty. And biology tests have been particularly difficult for students transferring from other states. “Because they hadn’t been in a state where biology was taught and assessed,” Stonier said.

For years, the Legislature has been trying to come up with a fix. Democrats prefer an all-out moratorium on all three tests. Senate Republicans have argued for a temporary exemption from the biology test.

Now, lawmakers on both sides say they’ve come up with a compromise.

The compromise allows students to appeal to local districts. Districts can then reach out to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction and make the case that student should graduate without passing one of the tests.

Under the deal, thousands of kids who didn’t graduate this year because they failed math or English Language Arts requirements would be able to fast-track an appeal through OSPI and prove they are proficient in the subject. It also suspends biology requirement, allowing students who failed that test to graduate right away.

Another key provision would have students take the math and ELA test in 10th grade instead of 11th, giving them time to get up to speed on the subject.

The House and Senate are expected to vote on the bill this week – and so far both sides say they expect it to pass — which means the roughly 2,000 students who didn’t graduate this year because they failed the biology test will graduate right away, and thousands of others who failed math or ELA, can start their appeals.

The compromise is also retroactive back to 2014 — meaning thousands of other students who didn’t graduate because they failed math or ELA tests now have a path to their diplomas.


15 responses to “Washington students who failed state testing could get a fast-track to their diploma

  1. As stated above, “the tests are tough for children of color or in poverty” I would say that “children of color or in poverty” don’t finish school, because there are no parents and if there are parents, one is serving time in jail and/or the other drinking, shooting drugs, and prostituting. I feel for the children because they’ll grow just the same, a circle hard to break.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hum. . . When you say “I would say. . .” am I to infer that you have some statistics on which you base the assertion that parents of blacks and poor white children are criminals or druggies?

      My grandson was raised in a caring, single-parent home. A beneath-the-poverty-level home. Not a criminal home. Not a druggie home. In a normal state he would have graduated mid-year, all class credits complete and a 3.9 something average. He “only” needed to complete one “senior” project to walk at graduation in June. He took on a full-time job right after Christmas break (er, Winter Holiday) intending to do the project while working. He found the project so exciting–not–that he walked into a GED test center, passed the test, got his GED, and never looked back. He didn’t ‘walk’ in June. Instead he repaid me in cash what he borrowed to buy his first car that he used to drive to the a real job.

      Lord Bless, Keep, Shine upon y’all. . .

      Liked by 2 people

      • I didn’t see anything that said that those kids DON’T finish school-she said that when the kids don’t finish school,it’s because of the things she listed happening in their young lives. I believe she’s RIGHT. Your Grandson is obviously an exception,born and raised by an exceptional Parent,and I commend his Parent for breaking with the typical results;very few are able to do that. He was obviously “raised right”,and will make his mark on this world.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay! So now that it has come up that the school systems are not adequately able to prepare so many of the students to pass all the newly required testing in order to graduate . . . making the school districts look like failures. We need to rethink this, get rid of the testing . . . go back to making the school districts, and teachers look like they are proficiently doing the jobs they are so very well paid to do! Perhaps Washington State should pump more monies into teacher’s salaries, or their benefits . . . perhaps that would improve the situation!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Washington students who failed state testing could get a fast-track to their diploma — Fellowship of the Minds – NZ Conservative Coalition

  4. Auntie Lulu.
    .Perhaps the problem lies NOT with the teachers, but rather with the students
    I mean, it seems that the teachers are having no problem in teaching the White students, but rather only with teaching the ,..”students of color”,

    Maybe ,..’students of color should be taught by by,.. ‘teachers of color’,..perhaps in segregated schools,..

    Hmmm,.. Now there is an idea,..

    But anyway,..Why can we refer to ,..’White’,.. students as,..’White’, when we can’t say,..’colored’,..students but rather we must say ‘students of color’,..?

    I mean, if we have to say, ..’students of color’,.. then,..shouldn’t we have to say,..’students of White’,.? .

    I’m just asking,…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. They (Washington,and others) keep lowering the bar so nobody’s feelings get hurt. In WHAT World are they helping these kids become capable of anything but sucking the Government’s teats their entire lives?
    This strange Washington-land-is it still a part of the USA?? If so,WHY?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So, here’s how it is (at least in CA & probably elsewhere): admin/State gov’t can make teachers do JUST ABOUT anything/everything they decree … even crazy, stupid things that affect education of children adversely…. EXCEPT—they can NOT legally pressure teachers to alter grades or classroom curriculum in order to alter or “dumb down” grades. (And, believe ME…they still TRY). So, in the end….this is the way they drag the failing kids (whom we failed in our classrooms) across the “finish line” so that district graduation statistics don’t look so bad. No one ever reports the WHOLE story….(it’s so easy to blame the teachers, end of story, fire them all). Sometimes kids don’t graduate (in fact MOST TIMES) b/c they have not attended school enough…year after year, they are truant. Here, the ed. code says that if you miss 26 classes, you get no HS credit for that course. (Not enough credits? You do not graduate). Many habitually absent kids miss 26 classes easily…AND….if the school is on a “block schedule (2 hours per course on alternate days…so…miss ONE day, and you have accrued TWO absences in one day—13 absent days per year—easy, even for a dedicated student who has one or more major illnesses during the year, like asthma, bronchitis, 2-3 bad colds, etc) = NO CREDIT, NO GRADUATION). The laws about truancy have dire consequences…but in the end…NO TEETH….parents are NOT jailed or fined for NOT sending kids to school. If you jail the parent…the kid has no adult supervision…if you fine them…they can’t pay anyway most times & the kids suffer ultimately if they DO pay….(IMO….parents who do not send their kids to school= child neglect=send them to a foster home: skip the fine and the jailing….keep the kid in school and supervised…).

    So in the end…this is all “circular thinking” in the ed. system, as usual. Admin and districts are all about the stats on paper. So…..do you have a failing graduation rate? Then—the easiest way to fix it is to wave graduation requirements so more kids “graduate.” Here in my district, we have a “suspension rate problem.” This means…kids who are disruptive/injure others/bring illegal substances, etc etc. to school—are suspended for a matter of days….(there are other reasons, too….but, this is an example)…and these kids form data that show we are “not educating our kids b/c they are suspended from classes.” SO…(I am on a district “best practices team) we have been told that the way to “solve” this statistical problem on paper is to STOP SUSPENDING KIDS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, I can see all of that. As is normal in matters like this, many of these problems have multiple roots and many potential correctives. I’ve always said that, especially in institutions, one must look at motives. You’ve done a great job of explaining some of those.

      When motives are impure, the product is as well. Administrations of any sort or seldom peopled by thoughtful, competent folks who’s primary interest is to do the right thing. No, administrations are where you find those soulless personal achievers who consistently champion the party line regardless of efficacy.

      At one point in my life my parents divorced and I was forced to attend an inner city school for a year. The one I attended was fairly new and well-equipped. The problem was the students. We had sixteen and seventeen-year-olds in the eighth grade! They were disruptive and dangerous. The schools were pressed into service as an adjunct of the juvenile justice system. They didn’t like having suspended kids roaming the streets causing trouble. Better to have them in the institution, causing trouble.

      The fact is that it wasn’t hard to ascertain the problem. All of the established processes and procedures ensured that nothing curative would ever be done.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks Lo and AMEN to all you said…esp…”….established processes and procedures ensured that nothing curative would ever be done.” It’s ALL a PAPER CHASE. Nothing else matters.

        Liked by 2 people

  7. The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America continues. They will not be happy until they dumb down the system to the point a cat could graduate high school and college. They want us to believe students of color fail because of not enough money or bad teachers. Both is a flat out lie. You might want to look at the fact that 75% of all black children are born to single mothers. There is your problem.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. The problem is that certain cultures do not value education; some see it as worse — a weakness, a sign one wants to be like those of “those of privilege” rather than like others of their own “family”.
    They are told that to succeed in life you must fight and be strong: an athlete, or attractive and charismatic: an entertainer.
    Others feel that education — especially higher, post-secondary types leading to degrees, are mere schemes of “those of privilege”, of whom most (they believe) merely play around for four years and then get handed the “keys to the kingdom”. So that all one need do is find a way to get accepted to a school and find a way to pay for it; they will then be given those keys as well, with or without hard work and sacrifice, and that if they are denied at any step, it’s obviously due to discrimination or bigotry of some sort…
    It’s hard not to get that message with today’s media coverage and salaries in pro sports and entertainment versus most jobs requiring advanced degrees, even those that devote their lives to saving others’. Steph Curry will get $40M per year for playing BBall with the Warriors the next 5 years… why waste your time with hard, boring school work?

    Liked by 1 person

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