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New Graduation Requirements for the Class of 2008

This year, the state's new graduation requirements become "real" as students in Seattle schools in the class of 2008 receive the results of their first attempt at the 10th-grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). Passing the 10th-grade WASL will be the avenue most students take to earn the Certificate of Academic Achievement, one of the four new statewide graduation requirements. (Students in special education programs may participate in alternate assessments and earn a Certificate of Individual Achievement.)

The Seattle school district believes every student can learn and demonstrate the skills and knowledge tested on the WASL. While many students will be successful on all three sections of the test on their first try, some students will not meet standard in one or more sections. There is help available for all students in Seattle schools to receive the skills needed not only to pass the WASL but also further their learning in and after high school.

All Seattle high schools have developed plans to assist students in meeting WASL standards. These include adding a 7th period, tutoring in math and literacy and in class tutors. The Seattle school district has also committed to providing each high school with a building-based manager and additional instructional coaching services. Students at Seattle schools may also take advantage of school year credit retrieval programs, Evening School, Contract Learning, and the Digital Learning Commons. Parents can contact their local Seattle school for more information about these programs.

All students in the classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008 in Seattle schools who took the 10th-grade WASL will receive an Individual Score Report with a final and accurate score for every WASL subject they took. These reports will be generated by Pearson Educational Measurement, the testing company, and sent to Seattle school districts for distribution. (Students in the class of 2009 -- this year's ninth-graders -- who took the 10th-grade WASL will get their results in late August/early September.)

Each score report will show a Seattle school student's performance on the reading, writing and math WASLs. Science results will be included in a second score report scheduled for late August/early September.

Some Seattle school students, however, won't receive any score report in June. Students in special education programs who used the two Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) options, the developmentally appropriate WASL (DAW) or the portfolio assessment, to measure their progress will not have their work scored until the summer. Results will be available for these Seattle school students by late August/early September.

Because of the high interest in student results, OSPI will work hard after receiving the initial score report from the testing company to provide as much accurate information to the public as quickly as possible. By late summer, OSPI will share a comprehensive look at all 10th-grade WASL data after the science WASL and the WAAS DAW and Portfolio have been scored and after districts have had the opportunity to verify student data files. All of these efforts will help Seattle schools determine the strengths and weaknesses of areas students in the various core subject areas.

About the Author: Stacy Andell is a staff writer for Schools K-12, providing free, in-depth reports on all U.S. public and private K-12 schools. Stacy has a nose for research and writes stimulating news and views on school issues. For more information on Seattle schools visit

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