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Washington graduation requirements changing to provide pathways outside testing

High school graduation requirements are potentially about to change in Washington. Students will still be required to take federally-mandated exams. They just wont be required to pass them.

The state is also expanding pathways to graduation, for students who plan to join the military or pursue technical careers, reports The Seattle Times.

The change is coming as a result of situations in which students were a few points shy from passing a mandated exam and couldn’t graduate. So the change hopes to adapt to various students’ learning styles and different career paths, adding a flexibility the previous standard didn’t quite have.

New state education head seeks more opportunities for students, less testing

In addition to meeting credit requirements, The Seattle Times states that students would be able to graduate by earning minimum scores on the SAT or ACT, passing a military aptitude test, taking two career technical-education (CTE) courses, or passing the federal Smarter Balanced math and English tests, among other options.

Delinking graduation from standardized tests was one of the goals of Larry Delayney, the newly elected president of the Washington Education Association.

“When we force educators to teach to test some arbitrary standards, that really hamstrings and we lose the richness of education,” he told Seattle’s Morning News recently. “We’re in a better place right now in public education in Washington, because now we provide multiple pathways for students to exit. Standardized assessment is simply one of those pathways.”

Washington schools superintendent wants more funding to support students

“We believe that every child should continue their education after school … and we want to provide the basic education that allows each child, each student to figure out where their strengths lie and pursue that after school,” he said. “For some students, that’s going to be college. For some students, that’s going to be immediately into the workforce. Might be the military. For others, trade schools.”

At a meeting October 24, the State Board of Education will hear feedback from the public before it goes to a vote.

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