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Graduation Pathway Options Report

Release Date: 

August 17, 2020

The Washington Legislature directed the State Board of Education (SBE) to provide an analysis of the equity and adequacy of new graduation pathway options through stakeholder outreach and engagement. The report, Washington Graduation Pathway Options: Stakeholder Feedback Project, Year I, is responsive to the legislative directive to SBE to report to the education committees of the Legislature. SBE contracted with Strobel Consulting to collect feedback from stakeholders on graduation pathway options. 

This report is the second report on graduation pathway options to be submitted to the education committees of the Legislature. The first graduation pathway option interim report was submitted in January 2020, and summarized initial information about graduation pathway options based on a survey of districts as part of the Basic Education compliance process, as well as feedback from partner organizations and the public from various sources.

Interim Graduation Pathway Option Considerations
Based on information in the report, feedback during stakeholder meetings such as OSPI’s Reopening Workgroup and its Legislative Policy Subgroup, and Board discussion at a Board work session on June 17, 2020, and the regular Board meeting on July 9 and 10, 2020, the Board identified possible changes to graduation pathway option policy. The Board is considering developing recommendations on the following approaches:

  • An individual student waiver for graduation pathway options.
    • Members believe it is important to provide students affected by school closures the opportunity to complete a pathway. Members also believe that, given disruptions and unavailability in testing and course options in 2020 and perhaps in 2021, completing a graduation pathway option should not become an insurmountable barrier.
    • Graduation pathway waiver option for individual students may include an extension of the Expedited Assessment Appeal or a waiver to grant districts authority to allow individual student waivers
  • Addition of a portfolio or project-based pathway
    • A locally developed and student directed portfolio or project-based pathway would align with mastery-based learning, support strategies such as work-based or project-based learning, and provide an option for students to demonstrate integrated learning over a broader set of learning standards and subject areas than English and math.
  • Greater flexibility in meeting credit requirements when a pathway option is met.
    • This option would allow students who meet the core subject area requirements and a pathway option aligned with a robust high school and beyond plan to demonstrate readiness for civic engagement, careers, postsecondary education, and lifelong learning with fewer than the required 24 credits.
    • If such a pathway were added the legislature may want to consider adding completion of the 24-credit graduation requirements, including 17 core subject areas and seven flexible credits, as a pathway as well.
  • Career readiness pathway options
    • Redefine the CTE pathway to include additional career training options (such as P-Tech and Career Launch-endorsed programs) and allow students to meet the pathway based on earning an industry recognized certificate (as identified by OSPI or the Workforce Board) regardless of coursework.
    • The Board is interested in further exploration of other robust career pathways that could focus on work-based learning, including aligning with the work of Career Connect Washington and the Work-Integrated Learning Advisory Committee.
  • Allowing students to demonstrate mastery in subjects other than English language arts and math in each of the pathways
    • This could include dual credit courses and assessments in social studies, science, world language, and art as pathways.

Next Steps
The Board will continue to:

  • Work with Strobel Consulting on gathering stakeholder feedback for additional student cohorts.
  • Work to expand the diversity of survey respondents to make sure the Board is hearing all voices, particularly the voices of student who are not served well by the system, including students of color, and students’ parents or guardians.
  • Use data from OSPI, surveys, and other stakeholder input to inform the Board’s work and to develop recommendations that will be reported to the education committees of the Legislature in the next interim report in December 2021.
  • Consider and explore policies for graduation pathway options that support students by providing equitable options in a changeable and unpredictable environment. Such considerations may provide a basis for SBE legislative priorities for a special session of the Legislature, if there is one, and in the 2021 session.

Media Contact: 

Stephanie Davidsmeyer
Communications Manager
(360) 764-0522