SEATTLE – Thousands of high school students in Washington’s class of 2013 don’t know yet if they will get a diploma later this spring because they have not yet met the state’s newest graduation requirement: a math exam.
Most of their fellow seniors have met their requirements: 77.5 percent of this year’s senior class have passed three statewide tests, are in line to earn all their credits, and are ready to complete a senior project and write a plan for what they want to do after high school. Those percentages look good, considering Washington’s on-time graduation rate has hovered just below 80 percent for the past few years.
But about 16,000 students across the state don’t yet know if they will need a cap and gown in a couple of months.
The class of 2013 is the first expected to pass either an algebra or geometry test to graduate, although high school students have been taking statewide math exams for years.
About 8,000 students in the class of 2013 have not yet fulfilled the math testing requirement and another 4,300 have not met any of the state testing requirements for reading, writing or math. About 3,800 still need to pass one or two tests.
Nearly 80 students in Seattle Public Schools are in danger of not graduating just because of the new math test, said Nancy Steers, the district’s assessment coordinator. More are still struggling to meet the writing or reading requirements.
“I would say 90 percent of them are really trying,” she said. “They’re sweating bullets.”
Some students who haven’t passed a math test yet took a make-up exam in January or February and have just found out or will know soon if they passed.
At the end of April, schools will be hearing how students did on a testing alternative called the Collection of Evidence, which is a portfolio-based review of student work in reading, writing or math.
Students who didn’t pass the January-February math tests will get another chance to test in June and another chance to turn in a Collection of Evidence. Those results will not be ready before graduation.