First WASL Requirement Class Looming - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

First WASL Requirement Class Looming

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KENNEWICK, Wash.- It's just days away from graduation for the state's first class that must pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, and the future of thousands of seniors is still up in the air.

Seniors in the class of 2008 who didn't pass the WASL would have gotten a letter explaining their situation, most of them probably retook the test.  Now it's a waiting game as students who were tested again in March won't find out if they passed until just hours before graduation.

"I have always been concerned about what was going to happen when 2008 came around, and here it is," said Southridge teacher Kim Watt.

Graduation is the dream for thousands of Washington's high school seniors next month, but for some students, that's all it'll be.

"Unfortunately, the closer it gets, the more I'm thinking that's going to happen," Watt said.

The 22-year teaching vet knows the feeling all too well.  She's been working with kids at Kennewick's Southridge High to make sure they can walk down the aisle.

"I passed the math the reading, but not the writing.   I don't know why?"

Farda Ramizov has only been in the country for three years, but has more than enough credits to graduate.  The WASL is the only thing holding up him and thousands of other students around the state.  According to the latest numbers from the superintendent of Public Instruction's Office, only 82 percent of the state's seniors passed the reading WASL, 80 percent on writing.

In Kennewick, the numbers are better at 85 and 81 percent.  Richland was at 87 and 83 percent.  But Pasco's sit around 59 and 57 percent, with a staggering only 28 percent passing the math section.

"Mid-week next week, and at that time we will be gathering the numbers," said Kennewick Schools spokesperson Lorainne Cooper, explaining when they'll know more.

Kennewick and Richland seniors won't be allowed to walk if they didn't pass.

"It was my dream to graduate from Southridge high school, get a cap and gown and walk on the stage," Ramizov said.

This year students only had to pass the reading and writing sections because the math requirement was delayed by lawmakers and science is only experimental.  Still thousands won't graduate next month.   We'll get a more exact count from the state next week.

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