An amendment to the state operating budget today by Sen. Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, would have opened graduation to students who have satisfactorily mastered their high school curriculum but failed to pass a mandatory standardized test. The amendment failed on a voice vote.

“This was the last opportunity to allow these children to graduate with their classmates,” Chase said. “At a time when we could have and should have corrected a failed policy, it saddens me to say that this body ignored the students’ critical needs.”

The students in question, in schools across the state, are students who pass their classes and in many cases excel but are weak at taking standardized tests. Studies have shown that such tests are less reliable in measuring student learning than is the body of the students’ work over the course of the school year. Studies also suggest various demographic factors influence how well students do on standardized tests.

“Teacher after teacher will tell you that these tests measure how well students take tests, not what they have learned,” Chase said. “These tests are a mistake we voted into place and today we should have voted to correct our mistake.”

Chase’s amendment, in the final hours of the waning legislative calendar, marked the state’s last chance this year to help high school seniors receive the graduation honors that they earned.

“Today this chamber taught these students a cynical lesson in government and legislative courage,” Chase said. “They did not fail their classes, but we have failed them.”