House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Concerning certificates of academic and individual achievement.
Sponsors: Representative MacEwen.
Hearing Date: 1/19/17
Staff: Ethan Moreno (786-7386).
Statewide Student Assessment System.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI), in consultation with the State Board of Education (SBE), is authorized to maintain and revise a statewide academic assessment system to measure student knowledge and skills on state learning standards and to use it for purposes of state and federal accountability. The state assessment system must cover the content areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and science for elementary, middle, and high school years. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to assess students based on state learning standards in reading and mathematics in each of grades 3-8 and one high school grade, as well as in at least one grade in elementary, middle, and high school in science.
In recent years, high school mathematics have been assessed in Washington using end-of-course tests (EOCs) in Algebra I and Geometry, and a 10th grade reading and writing assessment has also been utilized. In 2011, legislation directed that high school science be assessed using a Biology EOC. The Legislature subsequently expressed intent to transition from a Biology EOC to a comprehensive science assessment. Assessments based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), standards which are being phased in currently, will begin in 2018.
In 2013 the SPI was directed to implement, beginning in the 2015 school year, student assessments developed with a multistate consortium in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. (Washington is part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, known as SBAC.) The SPI was also directed to use test items from the SBAC assessments to develop a 10th grade ELA assessment and modify the Algebra I and Geometry EOCs for use through the transition period.
The SBE is responsible for establishing the performance scores that students must meet on state assessments. In accordance with statutory requirements, the SBE has established performance scores for the assessments used during the transition period, as well as the SBAC assessments. In setting scores for the high school SBAC assessments, the SBE must review the experience during the transition period, examine scores used in other states for the SBAC assessments, including states that require passage of an 11th grade assessment for graduation. The scores established for purposes of graduation may be different from the scores used for the purpose of determining career and college readiness.
High School Graduation Requirements.
A Certificate of Academic Achievement (CAA) or a Certificate of Individual Achievement (CIA) is one of the requirements for graduation from a Washington public high school. To obtain a CAA, a student must meet state standards on required statewide assessments. Students requiring special education who are not appropriately assessed by the state assessment system, even with accommodations, may earn a CIA through a variety of ways to demonstrate skills and abilities commensurate with their individual education programs.
Since the graduating class of 2008, Washington students have been required to meet the state standards on the assessment in reading and mathematics to obtain a CAA and graduate from high school. Legislation adopted in 2004 required the graduating classes of 2010 onward to meet standard on a statewide high school science assessment to earn a CAA for purposes of high school graduation, but subsequent legislation has thrice delayed this requirement.
Graduation requirements obligate students in the graduating classes of 2017 and 2018 to meet the standard on: (1) the state assessments in ELA or the ELA SBAC; (2) at least one of the mathematics EOCs or the mathematics SBAC; (3) and the Biology EOC or the NGSS Assessment for the classes of 2017 and 2018, respectively. Beginning with the graduating class of 2019, the SBAC assessments in the ELA and mathematics will be used to demonstrate that students meet the state standard in those subjects, and the NGSS assessment will be used to demonstrate that students meet the state standard in science.
Below is a chart illustrating the assessments required for the graduating class of 2017 and beyond.
English Language Arts
2017 and 2018
10th Grade ELA
11th Grade ELA (SBAC)
Algebra I EOC
11th Grade Mathematics (SBAC)
Biology EOC (2017)
with Next Generation
Assessment for 2018.
11th Grade Mathematics (SBAC)
Alternative Assessment Options.
Alternative assessment options exist to earn a CAA for those who have taken an assessment at least once. These include:
earning a high enough score on the SAT or ACT;
earning a high enough score on an Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate exam; and
collection of evidence, scored at the state level or by regional panels of educators.
Current law also includes provisions for waiving specific requirements pertaining to the CAA for students who transferred to a Washington public school in their junior or senior year or who have special, unavoidable circumstances.
High School Completion Programs.
Legislation adopted in 2004 directed the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges to develop a program plan to provide a continuing education option for students who are eligible to for the state's Transitional Bilingual Instruction Program (TBIP) and who need more time to develop language proficiency, but who are more age-appropriately suited for a postsecondary learning environment than a high school environment. In developing the plan, the SPI was directed to consider options to formally recognize the accomplishments of students in the TBIP who have completed the 12th grade but have not earned a CAA.
Additionally, in accordance with a pilot program adopted by the legislature in 2007, qualifying students were eligible to enroll in a high school completion project through courses or a program of study made available by a community or technical college participating in a high school completion program. In order to qualify for participation in the pilot program, the student must have completed all state and local high school graduation requirements except for earning a CAA or CIA, and must satisfy assessment-related and other requirements. The opportunity to meet all eligibility criteria for enrollment in the program expired August 1, 2015.
Summary of Bill:
High School Graduation Requirements: Elimination of CAA, CIA, and Alternative Assessment Options.
Requirements for graduating from high school are decoupled from statewide high school assessments by discontinuing the CAA, the earning of which is currently required as proof that a student has successfully met standard on statewide assessments required for graduation.
The SPI and the SBE remain obligated to maintain and continue to develop and revise a statewide assessment system for students in the content areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and science, but numerous provisions related to assessments and the earning of a CAA are modified or deleted. For example:
provisions requiring the SBE to identify assessment scores that high school students must meet in order to meet standard and obtain a CAA are discontinued;
all alternative assessment options for earning a CAA are discontinued;
a temporary provision governing end-of-course assessments for high school mathematics is discontinued;
a provision governing the statewide high school assessment in science is discontinued; and
provisions referencing CAAs (or CIAs) that govern International Baccalaureate diplomas, the Running Start Program, high school transcripts, and private schools are modified to reflect the elimination of the CAA and the CIA.
The CIA is also discontinued and no longer required for graduation for qualifying students. Students requiring special education who are not appropriately assessed by the state assessment system, even with accommodations, may, through multiple options, demonstrate skills and abilities commensurate with their individual education programs.
High School Completion Programs.
Provisions governing the program for providing a continuing education option for older students who are eligible to for the state's TBIP and who need more time to develop language proficiency, is modified. The plan for the program must consider options to formally recognize the accomplishments of students in the TBIP who have completed the 12th grade but have not met all applicable graduation requirements.
A high school completion pilot program for qualifying students who have completed all state and local high school graduation requirements except for earning a CAA or CIA is eliminated. As noted previously, the opportunity to meet all eligibility criteria for enrollment in the program expired August 1, 2015.
Student Learning Plans.
Current requirements for student learning plans, provisions that are eliminated in the repeal of alternative assessment provisions, are generally preserved.
Fiscal Note: Available.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.