Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Weigh in on New High School Graduation Requirements

You have about two weeks to weigh in at the State Board of Education on new graduation requirements. From the Seattle Times:

Washington students were among some of the last in the nation required to pass a set of federally mandated exams to finish high school. Students must still take these tests, called Smarter Balanced Assessments. But in the spring, legislators voted almost unanimously to cut the tie between the exams and a diploma. They also outlined a series of alternative paths to graduation, but left the fine print up to the state’s Board of Education. That board has spent the past several months drafting a set of new rules.

The board will hold a public hearing Oct. 24 in Olympia, where anyone interested can voice an  opinion. People who can’t make the meeting have until Oct. 28 to email comments to rulescoordinatorSBE@k12.wa.us.
Starting with the class of 2020, students would be required to meet a set of credit requirements and complete at least one of the following:
  • Pass the federal Smarter Balanced math and English tests.
  • Earn high-school math and English credits by enrolling in “dual-credit” courses.
  • Pass certain Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or Cambridge International exams, or pass certain “transition” courses that allow students to enroll in college-level coursework.
  • Reach minimum scores set by the state on the SAT or ACT.
  • Earn a minimum score on a military-aptitude test.
  • Take two career technical-education (CTE) courses.
Of course there's always pushback but I don't take much of what LEV or Stand for Children have to say very seriously:
Something as substantial as changing graduation requirements has riled criticism from some members of the state’s business and education advocacy communities. The pathways don’t parallel the rigor that came with the standardized tests, said officials from the League of Education Voters, which took a stance against decoupling the high-school diploma from test scores.

State schools chief Chris Reykdal says he will monitor which students wind up in each pathway. Reykdal, a member of the State Board of Education, said he generally supports the pathway options but the CTE pathway “comes up short” and could unintentionally breed inequity among students.


Anonymous said...

I'd rather students take two CTE courses than the military ASVAB. I took it before enlisting and it's pretty sad as a graduation requirement. There are Military Occupational Specialties that require certain General Technical requirements such as Artillery, Non-Tradititional forces, pilot, or infantry. There are non-passing scores that preclude enlisting. I'd really like to know what that cut score would be. Qualify for Infantry and you graduate? Qualify Nuclear Sub Tech and you get Summa Cum Laude?

Mr. Theo Moriarty

Anonymous said...

This sounds like it could be a lowering of the bar for graduation requirements, depending on what sort of minimum scores are allowed, what "taking 2 CTE classes means (e.g., do you have to pass them, do they have to be rigorous, etc.). At times it feels like we're moving in the "everyone gets a medal for playing" direction. We're already at the point where a shocking percentage of high school graduates require remediation in order to participate in typical college level classes. At what point is a high school diploma essentially meaningless?


Stuart J said...

The whole situation is very odd. "The legislature says do this, then asks for comment about what people think of it." Some of these are a lot harder than others. The SAT requirement is not the college ready benchmark, it is just scores that are in the 11th percentile for example. I think many 8th grade students would get that score. And this takes effect for the class of 2020! The poor counselors, trying to deal with this in addition to Core 24.