Did the state really get rid of standardized tests?

Graduates in Washington state will still be taking standardized tests, but there are now more options available for those who don’t pass them so they can still graduate.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news over the past week or so, you may have heard that our state is doing away with standardized tests for graduation.

While that might make for a splashy headline, the full truth is a bit more complicated.

Rather than doing away with standardized graduation tests altogether, House Bill 1599 — which Gov. Jay Inslee recently signed into law — gives students more options for meeting graduation requirements if they do not pass the state tests.

Under the new law, students will still be able to graduate using their 10th grade standardized test scores, but they’ll also have a number of other pathways toward graduation if they don’t pass those tests.

For example, students could alternatively complete a Career and Technical Education sequence of courses, pass designated Advanced Placement or Cambridge classes with a C+ or better, or meet standard in the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test. This is in addition to the alternative options that were already in place, including SAT or ACT scores, Advanced Placement test scores, and more.

In a recent interview with Seattle NPR affiliate KUOW, Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal said as many as 80% of students will still use the their 10th grade test scores to graduate, but the remaining students will have more pathways to graduate.

“It’s going to give a lot of hope to thousands of students who have been told if they can’t pass the test they won’t graduate,” Reykdal said.

So while high school students will continue to take standardized tests, their path to graduation will not be as narrow as it once was. The new law will help students who struggle with those tests opportunities to earn their diploma and find success in their postsecondary careers.

Learn more here.