ESHB 2224

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.

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Synopsis as Enacted

Brief Description: Providing flexibility in high school graduation requirements and supporting student success during the transition to a federal every student succeeds act-compliant accountability system.

Sponsors: House Committee on Education (originally sponsored by Representatives MacEwen, Dolan, Appleton, Haler, Harris, Sells, Tarleton, Walsh, Santos and Doglio; by request of Superintendent of Public Instruction).

House Committee on Education


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 requires states to assess students based on state learning standards in reading and mathematics in each of grades 3 through 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 using end-of-course tests (EOCs) in Algebra I and Geometry, while in ELA have been assessed using a tenth grade reading and writing assessment.  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, 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 tenth 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. 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 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, students have been required to meet the state standards on 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 also 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 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 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.

Objective Alternative Assessment Options.

Objective alternative assessment options (alternative assessments) may be utilized by students who have taken an assessment at least once.  The alternative assessments, which may only be approved by the Legislature, must be comparable in rigor to the skills and knowledge that the student must demonstrate on statewide student assessments and must be objective in their determination of student achievement of state standards. If a student meets the state standard on the alternative assessment, he or she must earn a CAA. The alternative assessments include:

There are also 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 and Beyond Plan.

One of the state graduation requirements is the completion of a High School and Beyond Plan (HSBP).  The SBE provides that each student must have a HSBP for his or her high school experience, including what he or she expects to do the year following graduation. The content of the plan, and whether a student's plan meets applicable requirements, is determined at the district level.  A student's high school transcript must contain a notation as to whether the student met the HSBP requirement.


High School Graduation Requirements - Modification to Assessment Requirements.

Certain high school graduation requirements are modified, including provisions requiring assessments in science, ELA, and mathematics, and provisions governing alternative assessment options.

The statewide high school science assessment will continue to be administered, but the requirement obligating students in the graduating classes of 2017 onward to obtain a sufficient score on the assessment (currently the Biology EOC) as a graduation prerequisite is delayed until the graduating class of 2021. The science assessment administered to that class must be a comprehensive science assessment based on applicable essential academic learning requirements adopted by the SPI in 2013. The provisions delaying the science assessment as a graduation prerequisite apply retroactively to students in the graduating class of 2017.

The administration of the statewide SBAC ELA and mathematics assessments occur in the tenth grade. This change will take effect in the 2017-18 school year and will apply beginning with students in the graduating class of 2020. A student who meets the high school graduation standard on the high school ELA and mathematics SBAC assessments and satisfies all other graduation requirements will earn a CAA.

"High school graduation standard" is not defined, but references to "state standard" or "state standards" in provisions governing assessment requirements and the earning of CAAs for the graduating classes of 2016 onward are changed to "high school graduation standard."

Establishment of CAA/CIA Appeals Process.

The SPI is directed to implement an expedited appeal process for waiving requirements for CAAs and CIAs for students in the graduating classes of 2014 through 2018 who have not met standard on ELA assessments, mathematics assessments, or both, but have met all other state and local graduation requirements. Eligible students in the graduating class of 2018 must also have attempted at least one alternative assessment option.

An appeal may be initiated with the applicable school district by a student or the student's parent, guardian, or principal. Districts are charged with determining which appeals will be submitted to the SPI for final review and approval. The SPI may approve an appeal only if it has been demonstrated that the student has the necessary skills and knowledge to meet the high school graduation standard and the skills necessary to successfully achieve the college or career goals established in his or her HSBP. Pathways for demonstrating the necessary skills and knowledge may include, but are not limited to:

Discontinued and New Alternative Assessment Options.

The collection of evidence alternative assessment option is discontinued, but a student who completes a dual credit course in ELA or mathematics in which the student earns college credit may use passage of the course as an alternative assessment for earning a CAA.

Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, students who do not qualify for a CAA because they have not met the high school graduation standard for the mathematics or ELA assessment may take and pass a locally determined course in the content area in which the student was not successful. The course must be rigorous and consistent with the student's educational and career goals identified in his or her HSBP and may include career and technical education (CTE) equivalencies in ELA or mathematics.

If the student passes the locally determined course, he or she may then take a locally administered assessment associated with the course as an alternative assessment for demonstrating that the student has met or exceeded the required high school graduation standard and qualifies for a CAA.

Locally administered assessments must be reviewed and, if appropriate, approved for use by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). Additionally, the OSPI must post on its website a compiled list of district-administered assessments approved as alternative assessments, including the comparable scores necessary to meet the standard.

Related provisions regarding high school transition courses are established. High school transition courses and the assessments offered in association with the courses are an approved locally determined course and assessment for demonstrating that the student met or exceeded the high school graduation standard. A "high school transition course" is defined as an ELA or mathematics course offered in high school the successful completion of which by the student will ensure college-level placement at participating institutions of higher education, but a student's successful completion of the course does not entitle the student to be admitted to any public institution of higher education. As further specified in the definition, high school transition courses must satisfy core or elective credit graduation requirements established by the SBE.

Student Interventions and Academic Supports.

New requirements for academic interventions and supports are established. School districts must provide students who have not earned a CAA before the beginning of eleventh grade with the opportunity to access interventions and academic supports, courses, or both, designed to the enable students to meet the high school graduation standard. The interventions, supports, or courses must be rigorous and consistent with the student's educational and career goals identified in his or her HSBP and may include CTE equivalencies in ELA or mathematics.

High School and Beyond Plans.

Additional requirements for HSBPs are established. Each student must have an HSBP to guide the student's high school experience and prepare him or her for postsecondary education or training and career. An HSBP must be initiated for each student during the seventh or eighth grade, and in preparation for that initiation, each student must first be administered a career interest and skills inventory.

The HSBP must be updated to reflect high school assessments, review transcripts, and assess progress toward identified goals. The HSPB must be revised as necessary for changing interests, goals, and needs and must identify available interventions and academic support, courses, or both, that enable students who have not met the high school graduation standard to do so.

All HSBPs must include the following elements:

School districts may also establish additional, local requirements for HSBPs that serve the needs and interests of the district's students and for other specified purposes.

School districts must update the HSBP for each student who has not earned a level 3 or 4 score on the middle school mathematics assessment by the ninth grade. The stated purpose of this update is to ensure that the student takes a mathematics course in the ninth and tenth grades. These courses may include CTE equivalencies in mathematics.

New and Modified Accountability Duties of the State Board of Education.

Numerous accountability-related duties of the SBE are modified or repealed. Examples of repealed duties include provisions obligating the SBE to:

Additionally, a provision specifying that the scores established by the SBE for earning a CAA and high school graduation may be different from the scores used for determining a student's career and college readiness is repealed and replaced with a similar provision indicating that the SBE is not prohibited from identifying a college and career readiness score that is different from the score required for high school graduation purposes.

Regarding new duties, the SBE, in consultation with the SPI, is directed to identify the equivalent student performance standard that a tenth grade student would need to achieve on the state assessments to be career and college ready at the end of the student's high school experience. A report on this performance standard must be submitted by the SBE to the Governor and the education policy and fiscal committees of the Legislature by December 1, 2018.

Votes on Final Passage:

Third Special Session








July 7, 2017