Sunnyside School Board directors approved a change in district policy, allowing high school seniors waiting on graduation requirement appeals to participate in commencement exercises.
The policy will apply to students who have met Sunnyside High School graduation requirements, including completing the senior project, but who have had to re-take portions of the WASL or who are awaiting appeals.
There are different forms of appeals to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Students can appeal test scores that are within 10 points of passing, or can appeal by sending a collection of evidence of learning. Another appeal form is a cohort appeal, where a student receives passing grades in concordance with his or her peers but failed a portion of the WASL.
At this time, 67 Sunnyside High School seniors have not passed the WASL, and many of those students are credit deficient as well.
Thirteen students have turned in collections of evidence for reading and writing.
The theory behind the change is that students cannot control how long it will take the state to respond to an appeal.
"I think it's critical to recognize you're not lowering the standards," said Superintendent Rick Cole.
School board director Stephen Carpenter emphasized the district is not granting diplomas to individuals who haven't earned them.