School Board work session scheduled to discuss encouraging or requiring all 10th graders to take standardized tests

On Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 5:30PM the SVSD school board will hold a special work session to discuss ‘High School State Testing Required Options and the New Graduation Pathway.‘ The regular school board meeting will then begin at 6:30PM. Both the work session and meeting happen at Snoqualmie City Hall Council Chambers, 398624 SE River Street.

Note: this work session and meeting were rescheduled due to snow on January 16th. Those who wish to comment, but cannot make the 1/30 meeting can email comments SVSD Board President Carolyn Simpson at or SVSD Superintendent Rob Manahan at

What exactly does this mean? Here you go:

For the Class of 2019, passing the SBA (Smarter Balanced Assessment) standardized test was a state graduation requirement. (Although there were some workarounds if test was not passed.) This year that requirement was removed by the legislature, with other alternative pathways clearly identified.

Students now have other ways – in addition to the SBA – to satisfy this part of state graduation requirement like SAT scores, Certificate of Individual Achievement (IEP students), Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) Exam, Sequence of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Courses.

According to SVSD Board President Carolyn Simpson, the legislature and State OSPI are recommending districts to encourage all students take the SBA. What the SVSD school board will discuss during the work session is whether to encourage or require its 10th grade students to take the SBA test [in the spring] before they can access another pathway to fulfill this state graduation requirement.

Some benefits to having all students take the SBA include:

  • Earliest checkoff for a graduation requirement
  • With a SBA score of 3 or 4, results can be used in college to enroll directly in college-level courses without having to take an entrance exam
  • Identifies students who may need intervention and provides school districts with additional data to help assess whether it has adequately prepared students for college or career

In Washington State students are required to take the SBA throughout elementary and middle school. So essentially the board will discuss if they want to continue that requirement for 10th graders.

Standardized testing is often a hot-button issue with some cons being:

  • Causes stress, especially for students who don’t test well yet do well in class
  • Only evaluates a one-time performance
  • Class time spent “teaching to the test”

Simpson commented, “Our educators are able to utilize the results of interim assessments (throughout the year) as well as summative assessments (once a year like the SBA) to help identify areas for improvement in teaching and learning. We are committed as a district to continuing to improve at preparing all students for college, career, and citizenship. Helping students navigate these graduation pathways and having good data as to our education systems is essential.“

This work session is open to the public. Those who wish to comment can do so during the school board meeting that follows. The board is expected to discuss the topic further during the meeting and possibly vote on the topic.

2019 SVSD school board

January 30, 2020 SVSD Work Session Public Notice

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