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High School State Testing Begins Next Week
Students will take reading and writing exams in March and science in April;
math moves to an end-of-course format in late May/early June

OLYMPIA — March 10, 2011 — High school students around the state will take the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) in reading and writing over three days next week. The science HSPE will be given in April and for the first time is required for students in the classes of 2013 and beyond to pass.

The biggest change in state testing this spring is the move to end-of-course exams in math, specifically in algebra 1 and geometry, or their integrated math equivalents. Under current law, students in the class of 2013 and beyond must pass both exams to be eligible to graduate. The math HSPE will no longer be offered to students.

The writing HSPE will be given on March 15 and 16 and the reading HSPE on March 17. The science exam is scheduled for April 12. The math end-of-course exams are given within the last three weeks of school. Testing schedules are determined by each school district.

For the past three years, students have been required to pass the reading and writing exams to be eligible for a diploma – this requirement remains for students through the class of 2012. For students in the class of 2013 and beyond, they must pass all four subjects (reading, writing, math and science) in order to be eligible to graduate.

Although the state Legislature is currently debating changes to the math and science assessment requirements, State Superintendent Randy Dorn said students and schools should proceed as if the graduation laws will not change.

“We can’t assume any of the proposed math and science legislation will become law,” Dorn said. “It’s unfortunate we have uncertainty regarding graduation requirements, but students should take the exams seriously and do their best to pass them.”

A timeline for passage of any legislation is unknown. The 2011 legislative session is scheduled to end April 24.

Dorn’s proposed math legislation (House Bill 1412) was passed by the state House of Representatives 96-1 and will be heard by the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education committee on Monday, March 14 at 1:30 p.m.

Dorn’s legislation requests that the current math assessment graduation requirement be amended by allowing students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 to pass one end-of-course (EOC) math exam instead of two. That will allow the assessment system to be better aligned in the transition from the HSPE (a single, comprehensive math exam) to two end-of-course exams (algebra 1 and geometry).

Most 10th grade students this year are taking geometry and will take that respective state end-of-course exam. However, under current law, they would also be required to take an algebra 1 exam a year after taking the course.

“This plan is fair to students. That’s my major concern,” Dorn said. “I hope the Legislature can act swiftly and get this bill to the governor so we can get it signed into law and move forward. Even if this bill becomes law, people should remember that students will still have to pass a state math exam.”

Dorn’s proposed legislation (House Bill 1410/Senate Bill 5226) to delay the science graduation requirement was not acted upon by either state chamber. However, Dorn said he expects the Legislature to designate the legislation as “necessary to implement the budget” and to take action on science as they have on math.

That, however, won’t occur before the science HSPE is given April 12.

The grades 3-8 Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) is scheduled for May 2-19 for the paper-and-pencil version of the test. This spring, the MSP is offered online in grades 4-8 in reading and math and grades 5 and 8 in science. The online testing window is May 2 to June 3.

School districts determine by school what days students will test during the testing window. Families should check with their respective schools for specific testing dates for the MSP.

For more information on state testing, visit For resources (handouts, toolkits) on state testing and graduation requirements, visit


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

The OSPI Communications Office serves as the central point of contact for local, regional and national media covering K-12 education issues.

Communications Manager
Nathan Olson
(360) 725-6015

Assessment Communications Manager
(360) 725-6032


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