Supporting an Effective K-12 System
A healthy and effective K-12 system strives to support all youth through high school graduation. Graduation correlates with increased job opportunities, higher wages, and a reduced probability of criminal justice involvement. At just above 79 percent, Washington's high school graduation rate for 2017 aligns with global trends.
Alhough the graduation rate has increased over time, persistent disparities exist along racial, ethnic and socioeconomic characteristics. For example, the graduation rate for Native American and/or Alaskan Native students was 60 percent, for Pacific Islanders the rate was 68 percent, and for students with disabilities the rate was 59 percent. Assessing the health of the K-12 system requires monitoring the progression of the student cohort’s proficiencies and potential pathways to success.
Kindergarten Ready – When children enter kindergarten ready to learn, the likelihood that they will be successful throughout their entire K-12 experience inceases. In Washington, nearly 47 percent of children are considered kindergarten ready.
Reading Proficiency – By the time a child reaches fourth grade, their reading skills illustrate how effective the education system has been in preparing them for success through twelvth grade. Fifty-seven percent of the state's fourth graders have met the reading proficiency standards.
Math Proficiency – Eighth grade math skills are an indicator of a student’s overall likelihood of graduating from high school, and just over 47 percent of Washington eighth graders have met math proficiency standards.
College Readiness – A more effective a K-12 system means fewer youth need to take remedial or developmental courses to prepare for college after high school graduation. Seventy-four percent of students entering college in Washington bypass remedial or developmental college readiness coursework in English and math.
Employed or Enrolled in Higher Education – A strong K-12 system prepares youth for a successful transition into adulthood. Both employment and higher education are indicators of young adult engagement in their own development. Nearly 77 percent of Washington students are employed or enrolled in higher education within 6 months after graduation.
- The Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction implements the Every Student Succeeds Act, which aims to increase equity in education and close the achievement gap. OSPI is also administering the Washington School Improvement Framework, which seeks to hold accountable each school in the state for meeting specific standards for all students.
- The Washington State Board of Education delivers evidence-based reform recommendations to improve student achievement. The 2018 Statewide Indicators of Educational System Health report recommends improvements to the K-12 system in early childhood education, family and community engagement, mental health supports, social-emotional learning and trauma-informed instructional models.
- ReadyWA, a coalition of over 20 public and private organizations, offers resources to support high school graduation and successful futures for all Washington youth.