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Graduation requirements toughening in 2013

North Kitsap - Future high school graduates can expect to see higher demands when it comes time to receive their diploma.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has proposed graduates of 2013 and beyond will be required to pass the mathematics and science portions of the High School Proficiency Exam, or an equivalent if the test is failed.

Though both tests are under development, North Kitsap Director of Secondary Education Aaron Leavell said there is a chance the science test requirement will be pushed back until 2017.

“I believe it is OSPI’s intention to have math in place before science is placed into the requirement,” Leavell said.

During the 2009-2010 school year, 47.1 percent of 10th grade students passed the state high school exam. This was a decline from two years ago, when 59.3 percent passed the WASL test.

The dip in scores was not isolated, as Washington scores dropped overall, Leavell said. The reason for this, he said, can be traced to the higher standards of the new tests—the Proficiency Exam for high schools and Measurements of Student Progress for grades 3-8.

When the math and science requirements are implemented, the district may need to hire more mathematics teachers, Leavell said.

“A large number of the student body already takes three years of math,” Leavell said. “There will need to be more math teachers in order to accommodate the demand.”

According to the school district’s schedule, there are eight mathematics teachers at North Kitsap High School and seven teachers at Kingston High. There is an average of 28 students in the mathematics classes at North Kitsap. Thirty-five students make up the largest class: geometry.

Currently, students who will graduate by 2012 who fail the math portion of the statewide assessment, or an appropriate alternative, must earn two credits in either mathematics or a career and technical education alternative after 10th grade.

Students in the class of 2013 and beyond will be required to pass a state assessment or end of course examination as well as a mathematics sequence.

The mathematics sequence will be a progressive set of courses such as a sequence of: Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II. However, alternatives for a third year of math will be available in the form of Certified Technical Education classes, Leavell said.

“We will be able to hold meetings with the students and their parents to find out what will work for their career path after high school,” Leavell said.

If a student plans on attending a four year college it will be recommended that he or she takes all three mathematics credits, Leavell said. But if the student has other plans, such as attending a technical college, other forms of math will be available, he said.

“As a state we are trying to meet national standards,” Leavell said. “Hopefully this will put us on a stable path.”

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