Yesterday, at the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) conference at the Westin in downtown Seattle, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn announced his new plans for math and science graduation requirements to an audience of over 1,000 statewide school board members.
Dorn, elected as a reformer last year, said it was necessary to postpone stricter graduation requirements for math until the class of 2015, and all graduation requirements for science until the class of 2017, to give students and teachers appropriate time to adjust to pending reforms.
For math graduation requirements until 2015, Dorn is okay with giving students a fall back option of earning two credits of math after tenth grade in order to graduate (a choice that is set to disappear in 2013) in place of passing a set of exams. Reformers want the scheduled changes–getting rid of the additional course work graduation option–to kick in for the class of 2013. They want students to have to pass either a state exam or two end-of-course exams to graduate starting in 2013–without Dorn’s fallback.
For 2015 and onward, Dorn offered a two-tier proposal: Students either meet the proficiency level in two end-of-course exams or students meet the basic level in the exams and earn four math credits. Students who don’t meet the basic level in the exams have the option of retesting with a comprehensive exam or using state-approved alternatives such as the SAT.
As far as the science graduation requirement, Dorn proposed postponing any requirements until the class of 2017, and replacing the current comprehensive assessment with end-of-course assessments in physical and life sciences. The 2010 legislature (starting this January) is supposed to define the science requirements.