Find answers to online learning questions on these topics.
Instruction provided under contract
What rules govern districts providing instruction under contract with a third-party?
Who is responsible for administering the state assessments to students enrolled in online school programs?
WAC 392-121-182 defines the assessment requirements of students enrolled in online schools.
For resident students enrolled in an online learning program operated by the resident school district, the usual testing requirements apply.
For resident students enrolled in an online course that is associated with an End-of-Course (EOC) exam, the resident district is responsible for meeting the testing requirements, whether the course is provided by the resident district or third party.
Students who are enrolled in online learning programs operated by a district other than the one in which the student lives need to be tested as per the following agreements:
- Inter-district Agreement: This is a negotiated agreement between two or more districts on the sharing of public school students. This agreement should explicitly specify how the districts will split responsibility for the student, including how they will share student FTE for basic education funding purposes. Unless the agreement specifies otherwise, the resident school is responsible for administration of the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) and Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) assessments, and is accountable for the assessment results for the student. If the districts, via the inter-district agreement, have shifted this responsibility/accountability to the non-resident district, then the agreement must also specify the procedures the districts will follow to ensure the assessment is administered according to state test administration requirements.
- School Choice: Washington's school "choice" law authorizes students to enroll in a non-resident district if the student has been formally released by the resident district and accepted by the non-resident district. The non-resident district assumes all responsibility for the student, just as if the student lived within the district. This includes responsibility for administration of the MSP/HSPE assessments, and accountability for the assessment results.
Can a student enrolled in an online school program (as a non-resident student) take the assessment at the resident district?
Yes. Although the enrolling district must make all the arrangements for testing, the resident district must provide an opportunity for the student to test there. If the enrolling district fails in its duties to properly notify the resident district in a reasonable time or fails to make the necessary arrangements, then resident district has the option of not accepting that student. A blanket policy of not testing non-enrolled resident students would likely be in violation of WAC 392-121-182, section 6, paragraph c: "Students enrolled full-time in nonresident alternative learning experience schools, programs, or courses shall have the opportunity to participate in any required annual state assessments at the district of residence, subject to that district's planned testing schedule."
Can the non-resident district contract with the resident district to administer the assessment?
Yes. In addition to working out the logistics of assessment administration, such an agreement could include reimbursement to the resident district for the costs of proctoring state assessments. Online learning programs enrolling non-resident students should expect to pay a reasonable fee to the district of residence for such services. Reasonable fees are in the range of the state reimbursement for the fall WAAS-Developmentally Appropriate Proficiency Exam (WAAS-DAPE) test administration provided by OSPI to districts administering the WAAS-DAPE in November. That reimbursement amounts to $100 per each seven tests of the same type that are administered. For example, six high school mathematics tests generates $100, as does seven mathematics tests; eight high school mathematics tests generates $200; three high school mathematics tests and three high school reading tests (being two different types of tests) generates $200.
Do homebased students need to take the state assessments?
Students that are part-time in a public school and also homebased are not required to take state assessments (see RCW 28A.150.350 and WAC 392-134 for a definition of part-time and RCW 28A.200 for the exemption of homebased students from state assessments).
Note that full-time Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) students, such as those enrolled in an online school program, are not considered homebased.
When must districts include contracted teachers on the S-275 report?
The district must report certificated instructional staff (CIS) from the course or program provider on the S-275 if the teacher, at any time during the school year, spends more than twenty-five percent of a full-time equivalent time with students for a given school district.(See WAC 392-121-188 (11).)
The district should contract the provider directly to obtain the necessary information to complete the S-275, if necessary.
Online course fees
When can a district pass online course fees on to the student/family?
Courses offered to students for which the district claims state education funding or that are included as part of the legally-required annual average total instructional hour offering of one thousand (1,000) hours must be paid for by the school district. Students/families may be responsible for fees, such as lab fees, as specified by the district fee schedule.
Courses offered to students for which the district claims no state education funding and that are not included as part of the legally-required annual average total instructional hour offering of one thousand (1,000) hours may be paid for by either the student/family or by the district. Students/families may also be responsible for fees as specified by the district fee schedule.
Inter-district "choice" transfers
What are the rules governing "choice" transfers?
The following RCWs cover "choice" transfers:
- RCW 28A.225.220. Adults, children from other districts, agreements for attending school -- Tuition.
- RCW 28A.225.225. Applications from nonresident students or students receiving homebased instruction to attend district school -- Acceptance and rejection standards -- Notification.
- RCW 28A.225.230. Appeal from certain decisions to deny student's request to attend nonresident district -- Procedure.
- RCW 28A.225.280. Transfer students' eligibility for extracurricular activities.
- RCW 28A.225.300. Enrollment options information to parents.
Does OSPI provide any guidance to students and families about choice options?
Yes. OSPI produces a "Learning by Choice" booklet on a yearly basis. You can find it here.