Legislation to institute universal testing for the highly capable program was signed into law today. Senate Bill 5072, sponsored by Sen. T’wina Nobles (D-Fircrest), requires districts to screen all students in both early and late elementary years for highly capable services.

“Highly capable programs provide an excellent opportunity to match academic rigor with a student’s learning level,” said Nobles. “By screening all students, we reduce the risk of not getting students the appropriate curriculum.”

Highly capable programs have been part of basic education in Washington since 2011. Current statute requires teachers or parents to refer individual students for consideration, and that means some students may be left out of the process. Students who are highly capable and don’t receive an appropriate curriculum are at risk of being mislabeled as below grade level, disengaging from school or having behavioral concerns. The legislation passed out of both chambers unanimously.

“This legislation is an important step towards equity in education,” Nobles stated. “We’re breaking down systemic barriers to an education with appropriate pacing, depth, and complexity for children of high intelligence — who are present in every demographic group and in every ZIP code.”

The legislation is set to go into effect July 23.