In what seems to be an attempt to avoid catastrophic failure senior year (with the WASL), the Seattle schools announced to 20% of high school sophomores that they are being held back until they have more class credits. With more high school credits under their belt, it was hoped, more would be able to pass the WASL exams to gain a diploma.
"This year's 10th-graders are the first group that must pass the exam to earn a high-school diploma. In high school, students take the WASL for the first time as sophomores, and if they fail, can retake it up to four more times. (The exam is given in earlier grades as well, but without the same high stakes for students.)
If the past is a guide, a majority of students won't pass on their first try. Last spring, 42 percent of sophomores statewide earned the required scores in reading, writing and math — the three subjects that are part of the graduation requirement. In Seattle, it was 35 percent...
An estimated 20 percent of Seattle high-school sophomores, part of the first class of students who must pass a state exam to graduate, won't have to take it this spring with their classmates after all..."
Seattle Holding Back 20% Sophomores