OLYMPIA - The Olympia School District plans to investigate why some students are having trouble devising a plan for what they will do after they graduate from high school.
The Olympia School Board on Monday night looked at reasons that students over the past few years have not met all the state requirements for earning a high school diploma.
The district data show that while there has been an emphasis on the state standardized tests, they are not a major factor in why a student might not graduate, said district Superintendent Bill Lahmann.
Nearly 98 percent of the Olympia School District’s Class of 2010 passed the reading and writing portions of the required state standardized tests, which used to be the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and is now the High School Proficiency Exam.
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At the top of the list of reasons that students who would have been in the Class of 2010 did not graduate was the lack of credits – 124 out of 829 did not complete enough classes to graduate.
In 2010, 97 out of 829 did not complete a written plan for completing high school and their post-graduation plans – called a High School and Beyond Plan – and 87 did not complete a culminating project, which is an in-depth research and presentation on a topic of the student’s choice. Some 26 students did not pass the reading or writing standardized test.
Some students failed to meet more than one graduation requirement, Lahmann said, and most of those who did not complete the plan or the project also did not have enough credits to graduate.
District figures show that 680 students graduated on time, a figure that may grow when students finish summer school.
Why students were not completing the High School and Beyond Plan, which students are asked to work on regularly, remains a mystery, Lahmann said.
“We were surprised” that many students didn’t complete the plan, he said.
Board member Carolyn Barclift wondered whether the students were taking the requirement as seriously as the standardized tests or the culminating projects.
“It doesn’t sound like there’s the same individual focus and drive,” she said.
Lahmann said the district plans to look at how the high schools can address the issue of how to help students complete the plan.
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