Bill opens new grad pathways

High school students may graduate by meeting SAT score, earning college credit

Pullman+High+School+Counselor+Kellie+Glaze+said+the+bill+may+not+affect+Pullman+High+School+students+because+of+a+95-96+percent+graduation+rate+but+may+improve+chances+for+other+students+in+state.

CAROLYNN CLAREY

Pullman High School Counselor Kellie Glaze said the bill may not affect Pullman High School students because of a 95-96 percent graduation rate but may improve chances for other students in state.

JAKOB THORINGTON, Evergreen reporter

A Washington bill is making high school graduation requirements in the state more accessible for some students. 

House Bill 1599 requires school districts to offer alternative options for students to meet graduation requirements. 

Previously, students were required to achieve a passing score on the English, language arts and the mathematics portions of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, a standardized state test.

The bill adds seven alternative requirements a student can meet. According to the bill report, a student can:

  • Earn at least one high school credit in ELA and at least one high school credit in math in dual credit courses (Running Start, College in the High School, and Career and Technical Education dual credit courses). 
  • Earn a three or higher on certain Advanced Placement exams for ELA and math.
  • Meet or exceed the graduation scores set by the state Board of Education in the math and ELA portions of the SAT or ACT.
  • Pass a transition course in ELA and math, which allows a student to place directly into a credit-bearing college level course.
  • Meet any combination of at least one ELA and one math option of those options listed previously.
  • Meet the standard on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery by scoring at least the military minimum for eligibility to serve in a branch of the armed services. 
  • Complete a sequence of Career and Technical Education courses that are tailored to the student’s postsecondary goals.

Pullman High School Counselor Kellie Glaze said the bill is more practical for students and considers the needs of an individual student. 

“I’m happy that our kids can graduate in multiple ways,” she said. “There are more pathways available to them.” 

Pullman Schools Communications Coordinator Shannon Focht said the bill alleviates anxiety for some students who demonstrate their knowledge in different ways other than a standardized test. 

The bill is implemented for the graduating class of 2020. Focht said it is too early to tell if the bill will improve graduation rates.

“It certainly won’t hinder those rates,” she said.

Last year’s graduation rate at PHS was around 95-96 percent, Glaze said. While the bill will not drastically affect students at PHS, it will help many students in the state, she said. 

Glaze said the only people who she thought would be opposed to the bill are SBAC test writers because of the amount of money invested into the test.