Governor approves math bill to streamline testing

April 11, 2011

By Laura Geggel

NEW — 3:25 p.m. April 11, 2011

Graduating from high school with sufficient math credits just got easier. Gov. Chris Gregoire approved a bill on Monday that would allow students in the 2013 and 2014 graduating classes to pass only one mathematics end-of-course exam, instead of two.

The state House of Representatives passed the legislation in a 96-1 vote on March 4. State Senators passed a companion bill in a 47-0 vote on March 29.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn had championed the legislation.

“Plain and simple, this is a win for fairness,” Dorn said. “In a tough legislative year, this is one law that directly impacts the lives of students in a positive manner. I’m pleased that state legislators and the governor did the right thing for students.”

Eventually, the math section of the High School Proficiency Exam — which is administered to sophomores — will be phased out, and two end-of-course exams, in algebra and geometry, will take its place.

Most Washington sophomores take geometry, and will take the geometry end-of-course exam this spring. Under current law, they would also be required to take the algebra I exam — a course most students take during their freshman year.

If Gregoire signs the bill, the second end-of-course exam will no longer be needed for students in the classes of 2013 and 2014.

Current eighth-graders — the class of 2015 — will be the first students required to pass two end-of-state exams. Most of those students will take algebra I in ninth grade, meaning they take the end-of-course exam in the same year they took the course.

“This whole issue for me has been about fairness,” Dorn said in a statement. “End of course should mean end of course. This is a big win for students that we all worked together and found the right solution.”

Students in the classes of 2011 and 2012 are not affected by this bill. Those students can still pass one state math exam or earn two credits of math after their sophomore year to meet the math graduation requirement.

 

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