High school assessment system — Certificate of academic achievement requirements — Exemptions — Options to retake high school assessment — Objective alternative assessment — Student learning plans.
(1) The high school assessment system shall include but need not be limited to the statewide student assessment, opportunities for a student to retake the content areas of the assessment in which the student was not successful, and, if approved by the legislature pursuant to subsection (10) of this section, one or more objective alternative assessments for a student to demonstrate achievement of state academic standards. The objective alternative assessments for each content area shall be comparable in rigor to the skills and knowledge that the student must demonstrate on the statewide student assessment for each content area.
(2) Subject to the conditions in this section, a certificate of academic achievement shall be obtained by most students at about the age of sixteen, and is evidence that the students have successfully met the state standard in the content areas included in the certificate. With the exception of students satisfying the provisions of RCW 28A.155.045 or 28A.655.0611, acquisition of the certificate is required for graduation from a public high school but is not the only requirement for graduation.
(3) Beginning with the graduating class of 2008, with the exception of students satisfying the provisions of RCW 28A.155.045, a student who meets the state standards on the reading, writing, and mathematics content areas of the high school statewide student assessment shall earn a certificate of academic achievement. If a student does not successfully meet the state standards in one or more content areas required for the certificate of academic achievement, then the student may retake the assessment in the content area up to four times at no cost to the student. If the student successfully meets the state standards on a retake of the assessment then the student shall earn a certificate of academic achievement. Once objective alternative assessments are authorized pursuant to subsection (10) of this section, a student may use the objective alternative assessments to demonstrate that the student successfully meets the state standards for that content area if the student has taken the statewide student assessment at least once. If the student successfully meets the state standards on the objective alternative assessments then the student shall earn a certificate of academic achievement.
(4) Beginning with the graduating class of 2015, a student must meet the state standards in science in addition to the other content areas required under subsection (3) of this section on the statewide student assessment or the objective alternative assessments in order to earn a certificate of academic achievement.
(5) The state board of education may not require the acquisition of the certificate of academic achievement for students in home-based instruction under chapter 28A.200 RCW, for students enrolled in private schools under chapter 28A.195 RCW, or for students satisfying the provisions of RCW 28A.155.045.
(6) A student may retain and use the highest result from each successfully completed content area of the high school assessment.
(7) School districts must make available to students the following options:
(a) To retake the statewide student assessment up to four times in the content areas in which the student did not meet the state standards if the student is enrolled in a public school; or
(b) To retake the statewide student assessment up to four times in the content areas in which the student did not meet the state standards if the student is enrolled in a high school completion program at a community or technical college. The superintendent of public instruction and the state board for community and technical colleges shall jointly identify means by which students in these programs can be assessed.
(8) Students who achieve the standard in a content area of the high school assessment but who wish to improve their results shall pay for retaking the assessment, using a uniform cost determined by the superintendent of public instruction.
(9) Opportunities to retake the assessment at least twice a year shall be available to each school district.
(10)(a) The office of the superintendent of public instruction shall develop options for implementing objective alternative assessments, which may include an appeals process for students' scores, for students to demonstrate achievement of the state academic standards. The objective alternative assessments shall be comparable in rigor to the skills and knowledge that the student must demonstrate on the statewide student assessment and be objective in its determination of student achievement of the state standards. Before any objective alternative assessments in addition to those authorized in RCW 28A.655.065 or (b) of this subsection are used by a student to demonstrate that the student has met the state standards in a content area required to obtain a certificate, the legislature shall formally approve the use of any objective alternative assessments through the omnibus appropriations act or by statute or concurrent resolution.
(b)(i) A student's score on the mathematics, reading or English, or writing portion of the SAT or the ACT may be used as an objective alternative assessment under this section for demonstrating that a student has met or exceeded the state standards for the certificate of academic achievement. The state board of education shall identify the scores students must achieve on the relevant portion of the SAT or ACT to meet or exceed the state standard in the relevant content area on the statewide student assessment. A student's score on the science portion of the ACT or the science subject area tests of the SAT may be used as an objective alternative assessment under this section as soon as the state board of education determines that sufficient data is available to identify reliable equivalent scores for the science content area of the statewide student assessment. After the first scores are established, the state board may increase but not decrease the scores required for students to meet or exceed the state standards.
(ii) A student who scores at least a three on the grading scale of one to five for selected AP examinations may use the score as an objective alternative assessment under this section for demonstrating that a student has met or exceeded state standards for the certificate of academic achievement. A score of three on the AP examinations in calculus or statistics may be used as an alternative assessment for the mathematics portion of the statewide student assessment. A score of three on the AP examinations in English language and composition may be used as an alternative assessment for the writing portion of the statewide student assessment. A score of three on the AP examinations in English literature and composition, macroeconomics, microeconomics, psychology, United States history, world history, United States government and politics, or comparative government and politics may be used as an alternative assessment for the reading portion of the statewide student assessment. A score of three on the AP examination in biology, physics, chemistry, or environmental science may be used as an alternative assessment for the science portion of the statewide student assessment.
(11) By December 15, 2004, the house of representatives and senate education committees shall obtain information and conclusions from recognized, independent, national assessment experts regarding the validity and reliability of the high school Washington assessment of student learning for making individual student high school graduation determinations.
(12) To help assure continued progress in academic achievement as a foundation for high school graduation and to assure that students are on track for high school graduation, each school district shall prepare plans for and notify students and their parents or legal guardians as provided in this subsection. Student learning plans are required for eighth grade students who were not successful on any or all of the content areas of the state assessment during the previous school year or who may not be on track to graduate due to credit deficiencies or absences. The parent or legal guardian shall be notified about the information in the student learning plan, preferably through a parent conference and at least annually. To the extent feasible, schools serving English language learner students and their parents shall translate the plan into the primary language of the family. The plan shall include the following information as applicable:
(a) The student's results on the state assessment;
(b) If the student is in the transitional bilingual program, the score on his or her Washington language proficiency test II;
(c) Any credit deficiencies;
(d) The student's attendance rates over the previous two years;
(e) The student's progress toward meeting state and local graduation requirements;
(f) The courses, competencies, and other steps needed to be taken by the student to meet state academic standards and stay on track for graduation;
(g) Remediation strategies and alternative education options available to students, including informing students of the option to continue to receive instructional services after grade twelve or until the age of twenty-one;
(h) The alternative assessment options available to students under this section and RCW 28A.655.065;
(i) School district programs, high school courses, and career and technical education options available for students to meet graduation requirements; and
(j) Available programs offered through skill centers or community and technical colleges, including the college high school diploma options under RCW 28B.50.535.
[2011 1st sp.s. c 22 § 2; 2010 c 244 § 1; 2009 c 524 § 5; 2008 c 321 § 2. Prior: 2007 c 355 § 5; 2007 c 354 § 2; 2006 c 115 § 4; 2004 c 19 § 101.]
| Finding -- Intent -- 2011 1st sp.s. c 22: "(1) The legislature continues to support end-of-course assessments as a fair and practical way to measure students' knowledge and skills in high school science, but the legislature also recognizes that there are important scientific concepts, principles, and content that are not able to be captured in a single course or a single assessment. The legislature also does not wish to narrow the high school science curriculum to a singular focus on biology.|
(2) However, the legislature finds that the financial resources for developing additional end-of-course assessments for high school science are not available in the 2011-2013 biennium. Nevertheless, the legislature intends to revisit this issue in the future and further intends at an appropriate time to direct the superintendent of public instruction to develop one or more end-of-course assessments in additional science subjects." [2011 1st sp.s. c 22 § 1.]
Intent -- 2009 c 524: See note following RCW 28B.50.535.
Findings -- 2008 c 321: "The legislature finds that high school students need to graduate with the skills necessary to be successful in college and work. The state graduation requirements help to ensure that Washington high school graduates have the basic skills to be competitive in a global economy. Under education reform started in 1993, time was to be the variable, obtaining the skills was to be the constant. Therefore, students who need additional time to gain the academic skills needed for college and the workplace should have the opportunities they need to reach high academic achievement, even if that takes more than the standard four years of high school.
Different students face different challenges and barriers to their academic success. Some students struggle to meet the standard on a single portion of the Washington assessment of student learning while excelling in the other subject areas; other students struggle to complete the necessary state or local graduation credits; while still others have their knowledge tested on the assessments and have completed all the credit requirements but are struggling because English is not their first language. The legislature finds that many of these students need additional time and support to achieve academic proficiency and meet all graduation requirements." [2008 c 321 § 1.]
Finding -- Intent -- 2007 c 355: See note following RCW 28B.50.534.
Findings -- Intent -- 2007 c 354: "(1) The legislature maintains a strong commitment to high expectations and high academic achievement for all students. The legislature finds that Washington schools and students are making significant progress in improving achievement in reading and writing. Schools are adapting instruction and providing remediation for students who need additional assistance. Reading and writing are being taught across the curriculum. Therefore, the legislature does not intend to make changes to the Washington assessment of student learning or high school graduation requirements in reading and writing.
(2) However, students are having difficulty improving their academic achievement in mathematics and science, particularly as measured by the high school Washington assessment of student learning. The legislature finds that corrections are needed in the state's high school assessment system that will improve alignment between learning standards, instruction, diagnosis, and assessment of students' knowledge and skills in high school mathematics and science. The legislature further finds there is a sense of urgency to make these corrections and intends to revise high school graduation requirements in mathematics and science only for the minimum period for corrections to be fully implemented." [2007 c 354 § 1.]
Part headings and captions not law -- 2004 c 19: "Part headings and captions used in this act are not any part of the law." [2004 c 19 § 301.]
Severability -- 2004 c 19: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [2004 c 19 § 302.]
Effective date -- 2004 c 19: "This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately [March 18, 2004]." [2004 c 19 § 303.]