Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Aug. 11, 2020

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Bill to cut high school science test passes


SEATTLE — The state House has passed a bill Monday that would eliminate the need to pass a science test to graduate from high school.

The proposal, House Bill 2214, would also discontinue the 10th-grade English and math exams in favor of the new tests based on the Common Core academic standards.

It would also eliminate an alternative to the high school exams, a portfolio approach known as the collection of evidence. Instead, students who don’t pass the exams would be required to take and pass another high school class in the same subject area.

The changes in the bill, which now goes on to the Senate after passing in the House on a vote of 87-10, would take effect this school year.

Lawmakers say the changes to the testing system would save the state $45 million over the next three years.

Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Olympia, said the idea of streamlining the high school test system has had support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House for more than a year. He hopes the Senate will give the bill a hearing, which they did not do last legislative session.

“We think the one size fits all test approach not only isn’t going to work for kids, it’s very expensive,” said Reykdal, who is running for superintendent of public instruction, during a news conference after the vote.

Under current law, this year’s graduating class is required to pass either the 10th-grade or 11th-grade English exams as well as one of three possible math tests. The proposal approved by the House would cut those requirements down to one test in each subject area, with fewer testing alternatives for those who don’t pass the 11th-grade exams, followed by additional classes if necessary.