(1) The legislature has made a commitment to rigorous academic standards for receipt of a high school diploma. The primary way that students will demonstrate that they meet the standards in reading, writing, mathematics, and science is through the Washington assessment of student learning. Only objective assessments that are comparable in rigor to the state assessment are authorized as an alternative assessment. Before seeking an alternative assessment, the legislature expects students to make a genuine effort to meet state standards, through regular and consistent attendance at school and participation in extended learning and other assistance programs.
(2) Under RCW 28A.655.061, beginning in the 2006-07 school year, the superintendent of public instruction shall implement objective alternative assessment methods as provided in this section for students to demonstrate achievement of the state standards in content areas in which the student has not yet met the standard on the high school Washington assessment of student learning. A student may access an alternative if the student meets applicable eligibility criteria in RCW 28A.655.061 and this section and other eligibility criteria established by the superintendent of public instruction, including but not limited to attendance criteria and participation in the remediation or supplemental instruction contained in the student learning plan developed under RCW 28A.655.061. A school district may waive attendance and/or remediation criteria for special, unavoidable circumstances.
(3) For the purposes of this section, "applicant" means a student seeking to use one of the alternative assessment methods in this section.
(4) One alternative assessment method shall be a combination of the applicant's grades in applicable courses and the applicant's highest score on the high school Washington assessment of student learning, as provided in this subsection. A student is eligible to apply for the alternative assessment method under this subsection (4) if the student has a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 on a four point grading scale. The superintendent of public instruction shall determine which high school courses are applicable to the alternative assessment method and shall issue guidelines to school districts.
(a) Using guidelines prepared by the superintendent of public instruction, a school district shall identify the group of students in the same school as the applicant who took the same high school courses as the applicant in the applicable content area. From the group of students identified in this manner, the district shall select the comparison cohort that shall be those students who met or slightly exceeded the state standard on the Washington assessment of student learning.
(b) The district shall compare the applicant's grades in high school courses in the applicable content area to the grades of students in the comparison cohort for the same high school courses. If the applicant's grades are equal to or above the mean grades of the comparison cohort, the applicant shall be deemed to have met the state standard on the alternative assessment.
(c) An applicant may not use the alternative assessment under this subsection (4) if there are fewer than six students in the comparison cohort.
(5) The superintendent of public instruction shall develop an alternative assessment method that shall be an evaluation of a collection of work samples prepared and submitted by the applicant. Effective September 1, 2009, collection of work samples may be submitted only in content areas where meeting the state standard on the high school assessment is required for purposes of graduation.
(a) The superintendent of public instruction shall develop guidelines for the types and number of work samples in each content area that may be submitted as a collection of evidence that the applicant has met the state standard in that content area. Work samples may be collected from academic, career and technical, or remedial courses and may include performance tasks as well as written products. The superintendent shall submit the guidelines for approval by the state board of education.
(b) The superintendent shall develop protocols for submission of the collection of work samples that include affidavits from the applicant's teachers and school district that the samples are the work of the applicant and a requirement that a portion of the samples be prepared under the direct supervision of a classroom teacher. The superintendent shall submit the protocols for approval by the state board of education.
(c) The superintendent shall develop uniform scoring criteria for evaluating the collection of work samples and submit the scoring criteria for approval by the state board of education. Collections shall be scored at the state level or regionally by a panel of educators selected and trained by the superintendent to ensure objectivity, reliability, and rigor in the evaluation. An educator may not score work samples submitted by applicants from the educator's school district. If the panel awards an applicant's collection of work samples the minimum required score, the applicant shall be deemed to have met the state standard on the alternative assessment.
(d) Using an open and public process that includes consultation with district superintendents, school principals, and other educators, the state board of education shall consider the guidelines, protocols, scoring criteria, and other information regarding the collection of work samples submitted by the superintendent of public instruction. The collection of work samples may be implemented as an alternative assessment after the state board of education has approved the guidelines, protocols, and scoring criteria and determined that the collection of work samples: (i) Will meet professionally accepted standards for a valid and reliable measure of the grade level expectations and the essential academic learning requirements; and (ii) is comparable to or exceeds the rigor of the skills and knowledge that a student must demonstrate on the Washington assessment of student learning in the applicable content area. The state board shall make an approval decision and determination no later than December 1, 2006, and thereafter may increase the required rigor of the collection of work samples.
(e) By September of 2006, the superintendent of public instruction shall develop informational materials for parents, teachers, and students regarding the collection of work samples and the status of its development as an alternative assessment method. The materials shall provide specific guidance regarding the type and number of work samples likely to be required, include examples of work that meets the state learning standards, and describe the scoring criteria and process for the collection. The materials shall also encourage students in the graduating class of 2008 to begin creating a collection if they believe they may seek to use the collection once it is implemented as an alternative assessment.
(6)(a) For students enrolled in a career and technical education program approved under RCW 28A.700.030, the superintendent of public instruction shall develop additional guidelines for collections of work samples that are tailored to different career and technical programs. The additional guidelines shall:
(i) Provide multiple examples of work samples that are related to the particular career and technical program;
(ii) Permit work samples based on completed activities or projects where demonstration of academic knowledge is inferred; and
(iii) Provide multiple examples of work samples drawn from career and technical courses.
(b) The purpose of the additional guidelines is to provide a clear pathway toward a certificate of academic achievement for career and technical students by showing them applied and relevant opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills, and to provide guidance to teachers in integrating academic and career and technical instruction and assessment and assisting career and technical students in compiling a collection. The superintendent of public instruction shall develop and disseminate additional guidelines for no fewer than ten career and technical education programs representing a variety of program offerings by no later than September 1, 2008. Guidelines for ten additional programs shall be developed and disseminated no later than June 1, 2009.
(c) The superintendent shall consult with community and technical colleges, employers, the workforce training and education coordinating board, apprenticeship programs, and other regional and national experts in career and technical education to create appropriate guidelines and examples of work samples and other evidence of a career and technical student's knowledge and skills on the state academic standards.
(7) The superintendent of public instruction shall study the feasibility of using existing mathematics assessments in languages other than English as an additional alternative assessment option. The study shall include an estimation of the cost of translating the tenth grade mathematics assessment into other languages and scoring the assessments should they be implemented.
(8) The superintendent of public instruction shall implement:
(a) By June 1, 2006, a process for students to appeal the score they received on the high school assessments; and
(b) By January 1, 2007, guidelines and appeal processes for waiving specific requirements in RCW 28A.655.061 pertaining to the certificate of academic achievement and to the certificate of individual achievement for students who: (i) Transfer to a Washington public school in their junior or senior year with the intent of obtaining a public high school diploma, or (ii) have special, unavoidable circumstances.
(9) The state board of education shall examine opportunities for additional alternative assessments, including the possible use of one or more standardized norm-referenced student achievement tests and the possible use of the reading, writing, or mathematics portions of the ACT ASSET and ACT COMPASS test instruments as objective alternative assessments for demonstrating that a student has met the state standards for the certificate of academic achievement. The state board shall submit its findings and recommendations to the education committees of the legislature by January 10, 2008.
(10) The superintendent of public instruction shall adopt rules to implement this section.
[2009 c 556 § 19; 2008 c 170 § 205; 2007 c 354 § 6; 2006 c 115 § 1.]
| Findings -- Intent -- Part headings not law -- 2008 c 170: See RCW 28A.700.005 and 28A.700.901.|
Findings -- Intent -- 2007 c 354: See note following RCW 28A.655.061.