Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Education Committee

E2SSB 5237

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: Establishing accountability for student performance in reading.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Ways & Means (originally sponsored by Senators Dammeier, Litzow, Rivers, Tom, Fain, Hobbs, Hatfield and Carrell).

Brief Summary of Engrossed Second Substitute Bill

  • Requires expansion of the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program, if funds are appropriated.

  • Requires professional development opportunities in reading instruction for kindergarten through third grade (K-3) teachers.

  • Directs that the Learning Assistance Program be focused first on K-3 students who are deficient in reading.

  • Requires report cards for K-4 students to include whether the student is at grade-level in reading.

  • Requires an automatic meeting with parents to discuss placement and remedial strategies for any student who scores Below Basic on the third grade English Language Arts (ELA) assessment, beginning in 2015-16.

  • Specifies remediation that must be provided beginning in 2016-17 for any student who did not meet the standard on the third grade ELA assessment, if funds are appropriated.

Hearing Date: 3/19/13

Staff: Barbara McLain (786-7383).


Early Learning.

The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) is a state-funded program administered by the Department of Early Learning (DEL) that serves 3 and 4-year-old children from low-income families, children who qualify for special education, and other at-risk children. In 2012-13, funding was provided to serve 8,391 children. The DEL estimates that the ECEAP and federal Head Start programs combined serve 37 percent of eligible children.

Learning Assistance Program.

The Learning Assistance Program (LAP) provides instructional support for students who are performing below grade level in reading, writing, and mathematics. School districts must submit an annual plan that identifies the activities to be conducted and the proposed expenditure of funds. A range of services and activities may be supported by LAP funds. The plan is required to have a number of specified elements and must be approved by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). School districts have flexibility in determining which students and which schools receive LAP funds.

Statewide Assessments for Third Grade.

The statewide student assessment in grades 3 through 8 is called the Measurements of Student Progress (MSP). Results from the MSP are reported according to four performance levels, based on the degree to which each student meets the state learning standard for knowledge and skills in a particular subject area. Level 2 (Basic) and Level 1 (Below Basic) indicate that the student did not meet the state standard.

A small number of students, generally less than 2 percent of the student population, have significant cognitive disabilities and are assessed through the Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) using a portfolio of data aligned to specific skills that a student demonstrates in a classroom setting.

Students in third grade take the MSP in Reading and Mathematics. However, the OSPI is planning to implement assessment of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the 2014-15 school year. The CCSS measure student performance in English Language Arts (ELA) as a combined subject, rather than Reading and Writing as separate subjects.

The following table from the OSPI website shows the results from the MSP in third grade Reading for 2011-12:

Performance Level



Level 4: Advanced



Level 3: Proficient



Level 2: Basic



Level 1: Below Basic



WAAS Portfolio


No Score/Not Included


Summary of Bill:

Early Learning.

The DEL must expand the ECEAP to serve more children in the 2013-15 biennium, subject to funds appropriated for this purpose.

Professional Development.

Subject to funds appropriated for this purpose, the OSPI must create partnerships with Educational Service Districts and Colleges of Education to develop and deliver targeted and research-based professional development in reading instruction for kindergarten through third grade (K-3) teachers.

Learning Assistance Program.

School district plans for the use of LAP funds must focus first on addressing the needs of K-3 students who are deficient in reading. Outreach activities and support for parents of LAP students must place a special focus on parents of K-3 students who are deficient in reading.

Each August 1st, school districts must report the following:

The OSPI must compile the data and report gains related to specific practices and activities to show which are the most effective.

Report Cards.

Report cards for all K-4 students must include information on how the student is progressing in reading skills and whether the student is at grade level in reading. If a student is not at grade level, the teacher must explain to the parent what interventions and strategies will be used to help the student improve, and provide strategies for the parent to improve the student's reading skills at home.

Each school must report to the district the number of K-3 students who are reading below grade-level and the interventions being provided. The district must combine the reports to the OSPI, and the OPSI must report the information, disaggregated by student subgroups, to legislative committees and the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee.

Third Grade Reading.

Beginning in the 2015-16 school year, if a student scores Below Basic on the third grade ELA assessment, a meeting must be automatically required with the student's parent or guardian to discuss appropriate placement and remedial strategies.

Options for placement must include:

Following participation in a summer program or other remedial option, the third grade ELA assessment must be re-administered and a follow-up meeting must occur with the student's parent or guardian.

Districts must provide written notification of assessment results to all parents or guardians of students taking the third grade ELA assessment.

The requirements for a meeting with parents, discussion of options for placement, re-administration of the ELA assessment, and written notification are subject to the availability of funds appropriated specifically for this purpose. Certain students who are in special education or English Language Learners are exempt from these provisions.

Subject to funds appropriated for this purpose, beginning in the 2016-17 school year, a school district must provide the following remediation to any student who did not meet the state standard on the third grade ELA assessment in the previous year:

School districts may use funds from any source that are available generally or specifically to support student learning in the ELA to provide the required remediation.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Preliminary fiscal note available.

Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.