Sophomores in Washington state this year are the first lucky bunch to have to meet the standard on the state tests in reading, writing, and 'rithematic in order to get their diplomas. No one is exactly sure how many will manage to do this the first time around. In previous years, less than 40% of sophs were able to "pass" all three tests...but then, there was no stakes associated with the tests. Will students take things more seriously now that there are?
Other states have seen significant gains in these sorts of cases. However, even if we do, the numbers are not going to be 100%. There are going to be some students who will still need to retake the tests they don't do well on. This means a free trip to summer school.
The state is rolling out "modules" for teaching summer school. (Not all of the modules are yet available on-line, but you can sneak a peek at the reading ones here.) These modules are specifically for helping those kids who are "high twos" (meaning just short of passing). No plans are currently being made for the "low twos" and all of the "ones."
Great. The state has curriculum. They have set aside money for summer school support. But I'm left wondering...Who's going to teach all these thousands of students? Most districts---including ours---had a hard enough time in previous years convincing teachers to work through the summer. Considering that many teachers have to take coursework to maintain their certificates, how many will be available to teach during the summer? And how many will want to?