Governor signs MacEwen bill reforming high school assessments to benefit students

A bill sponsored by Rep. Drew MacEwen to change high school assessment and graduation requirements was signed into law by the governor Friday. MacEwen’s House Bill 2224, which passed both chambers unanimously, is set to make several adjustments to current law that will enable more students to graduate on time.

Earlier this session, MacEwen introduced House Bill 1046, which would have delinked all state tests from high school graduation requirements. House Bill 2224 builds off that effort, and while state tests will not be delinked from graduation under the legislation, it will provide students with more time to meet the standard necessary for graduation. Math and English language arts assessments will be moved up from 11th to 10th grade beginning in 2019, and meeting standard on the state’s biology assessment will be delayed as a graduation requirement until the class of 2021. The latter change also applies retroactively to the class of 2017.

MacEwen, R-Union, says that while he would have preferred House Bill 1046 to be signed into law earlier this year, House Bill 2224 is a fair, bipartisan compromise to the original bill.

“This is one of the most consequential pieces of reform legislation I have seen during my time here in the Legislature. Our job is to do what’s in the best interest of our students, and we are doing that through this bill,” said MacEwen. “I appreciate the level of buy-in from legislators on both sides of the aisle in each chamber, as well as from the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. While I strongly believe delinking state tests from high school graduation requirements is the right policy for our state, House Bill 2224 represents a fair compromise that will move us forward and help students who are graduating this year and in the years to come.”

In addition to the above changes, House Bill 2224 will:

  • Establish an expedited appeals process for students in the 2014-2018 graduating classes who have not met standard on the math and/or English language arts assessments;
  • Discontinue the collection of evidence objective alternative assessment;
  • Allow, beginning in the 2018-19 school year, qualifying students to meet the applicable state standard by: 1) taking and passing a locally determined course in the content area in which the student was not successful, and 2) completing a state-approved and locally administered assessment. Students would also have the opportunity to successfully complete a dual credit course in English language arts or math, which would qualify as an approved alternative assessment; and
  • Require school districts to provide students who have not earned a certificate of academic achievement (CAA) before the beginning of the 11th grade the opportunity to access interventions and academic supports, courses, or both to enable students to meet minimum high school graduation standards.

House Bill 2224 will go into effect later this year.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov