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Dorn: Class of 2011 Maintains 90 Percent Passing Rate
State Superintendent concerned that continual budget cuts will affect student learning and performance

OLYMPIA — June 14, 2011 — In the fourth year of high school graduation requirements, more than 90 percent of Washington 12th grade students in the class of 2011 have passed the state reading and writing exams prior to reaching their respective graduation ceremonies.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn released preliminary statewide results from the High School Proficiency Exam in reading, writing and science at a press conference today. This spring marked the first time students took end-of-course exams in math (algebra 1 or geometry). Those results will be returned in late August.

“Our state has had great success in raising our reading and writing scores during the past 10 years,” Dorn said. “But now, we must focus our efforts on math and science so our students can compete for the high-paying jobs in our state that industry leaders must look elsewhere to fill.”

Dorn said his continued call for increased quality science instruction is backed up by this spring’s 10th grade HSPE science results. Just 49.9 percent of 10th graders in the class of 2013 passed the science HSPE when, at the time they took the exam in April, it was still a graduation requirement.

On June 7, Dorn’s proposed science legislation House Bill 1410, which delays the requirement until the class of 2015, was signed into law. The state will move from a single, comprehensive science exam to an end-of-course exam in biology in spring 2012.

“We cannot hold students responsible for a science graduation requirement until we provide them the level and frequency of instruction that they receive in reading, writing and math,” he said. “And to increase our graduation requirements at a time when the state Legislature is cutting resources from our schools doesn’t pass my common sense test.”

Graduation rates increasing
As high school graduation ceremonies continue this week around the state, Dorn lauded the efforts of educators to increase graduation rates and lower dropout numbers.

Although class of 2011 graduation numbers won’t be available until early next year, Dorn said the graduation rate has climbed 6 percent in the past five years (from 70.4 percent in 2006 to 76.5 percent in 2010). Also, the state’s extended graduation rate (for students who take more than four years to earn a diploma) climbed above 80 percent for the first time to 82.6 percent in 2010.

The overall dropout rate fell to 17.6 percent in 2010 from 19.4 percent in 2009.

“I believe our hard work is beginning to pay off,” Dorn said. “This has been one of my top priorities since I came into office. Our schools are doing an excellent job of making sure students not only stay in school but get their diploma as well.”

State testing graduation requirements
For the third straight year, 12th graders passed the reading and writing exams at the 94 percent passing mark. Students must also pass a state math exam or earn two credits of math after 10th grade.

Currently, 61 percent of 12th graders have passed a state math exam, but that number is expected to rise to around 70 percent when math results are released in late August. Traditionally, about 25 percent of students meet the math requirement by earning additional math credits.

The two credits of math option will no longer be available after the class of 2012 graduates. The class of 2013 must pass one math end-of-course exam, or an approved state alternative, to be eligible for a diploma. The class of 2015 will be the first to be required to pass five state exams: reading, writing, two math end-of-course exams and one biology end-of-course exam.

“The students who are graduating should be proud of their accomplishment,” Dorn said. “Twelfth graders who didn’t graduate in June should be encouraged to stay in school and finish their education. Earning a high school diploma is an important accomplishment.”

For 11th graders in the class of 2012, 90 percent have already passed the writing HSPE and 88 percent the reading HSPE. For 10th graders in the class of 2013, 84 percent passed the writing HSPE on their first attempt and 81 percent the reading HSPE.

In late August, Dorn will release final numbers for state testing, including the results from the math end-of-course exams and the grades 3-8 Measurements of Student Progress.

For more information on state testing, visit Also, state testing and graduation resources are available at


About OSPI
The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) is the primary agency charged with overseeing K-12 education in Washington state. Led by State School Superintendent Randy Dorn, OSPI works with the state’s 295 school districts and nine Educational Service Districts to administer basic education programs and implement education reform on behalf of more than one million public school students.

OSPI does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual preference/orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

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Chris Barron
Assessment Communications Manager
(360) 725-6032

For more Information

Dorn Presentation (PDF)
Supplemental Slides (PDF)


   Updated 6/12/2015

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