Some high school freshmen could begin taking 10th-grade WASL exams next year on a voluntary basis.
“We want the kids to be able to take it early,” said Terry Bergeson, the state schools superintendent.
The class of 2008, this year’s freshmen, will need to pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning’s reading, math and writing exams to graduate.
The Legislature last year agreed to allow up to four retakes of any or all WASL exams.
Some students are ready for it before their sophomore year and should be given the chance, Bergeson said.
“If students are ready for the math portion of the test and want to take it early, they should be able to do that. If they meet the standard in one or two areas as a ninth-grader, that’s great,” Bergeson said.
“Then, they’re freed up to concentrate on areas where they may not have done so well, and focus on other coursework that will help them prepare for the career path of their choice.”
Many details still need to be worked out, including costs and scheduling issues.
Discussions are under way with school district leaders from around the state who must deal with several issues, such as rules for retesting, student and parent notification, and impacts on federal accountability requirements under the federal “No Child Left Behind” law.
Eric Stevick is a reporter with The Herald in Everett.