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Washington has done exciting work in the past few years to broaden access to advanced coursework opportunities. The 2023 legislative session culminated in the elimination of College in the High School (CiHS) fees, a strengthening of the state’s High School and Beyond plan, and more options for students through Summer Running Start (RS). The state also has been a national leader in academic acceleration policies that automatically enroll students who show readiness — through a test score or other identified criteria — in the next advanced class in a sequence.

Although the state’s focus on academic acceleration is commendable, there are still some districts that have yet to adopt an acceleration policy, while others have moved, or are ready to move, beyond policy adoption to implementation of best practices. Additionally, while recent policies have extended dual credit access, some barriers remain, such as fees for Advanced Placement (AP) tests and career and technical education (CTE) certifications, and an unknown return on investment for CTE dual credit (DC) classes. As new policies are implemented, it is important for state and local policymakers to use available data to identify existing opportunity gaps and ensure that historically underrepresented students have more on-ramps to college and career success.

To read our five recommendations, download the paper.

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