The staff at Sunnyside High School wants sophomores and their parents to understand that the students must take the biology end of course exam on Thursday, May 31, starting at 7:30 a.m.
According to Teri Alvarez-Ziegler, taking the test is a requirement for all sophomores. If they don't take the test, they may not be allowed to graduate in two years.
"This is an important test for them," she said.
It's also not the only test coming up. An algebra make-up test will also be held this Thursday for students who have failed it in the past and are not currently in an algebra or geometry class.
The end of course algebra and geometry exams will be given during regular class time next week for students taking those courses.
Math advisor James Wise said the school has worked hard to prepare students for the tests.
"We finished new content two weeks ago, so they'll have three and a half weeks to review all material before the test," he said.
"Also, as a department, we've analyzed data from other tests to see where the weaknesses are, and we've focused review on those areas."
Karen Hutchinson, the assessment coordinator, said the key to passing the tests is good attendance and participation in class.
"Starting next year, these kids need to pass these tests," she said. "In order to pass they need good attendance and good study habits."
Leadership advisor Josh Eidson said there's always been an alternative route to graduation. "That route will be gone next year. Students need to take these tests seriously," Eidson said.
Alvarez-Ziegler said the science curriculum is already aligned to the new standards, so Sunnyside High School is ahead of many in the state.
"We've had help from Gonzaga to know what formats questions are likely to be in on the exam," she said. "And we've learned from some released questions that our formal lab write-ups are similar to what will be asked."
As a result, the staff believes the students are ready. The final piece is to have the students show up ready for the test.
All sophomores and any students retaking the algebra exam need to be at the high school at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 31. All other high school students will have a late start of 10:30 a.m.