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Once on track to graduate, some high school seniors' plans are suddenly being derailed.

The state imposed new math standards this year, but at least 15,000 students still haven't made the grade.

A class at Highline High School is taking on the challenge head-on, helping students graduate on time.

The class is full of students who failed the new math exam required to graduate. This class is their last hope.

So it's like real nerve wracking when you hear that if you don't pass it's like, oh snap, I have to do this all again, said Highline Senior Emily Birdseye.

To make the grade, students have to submit what the state calls a collection of evidence-- proof that they know how to DO proofs. The state comes up with the problems and also grades the portfolios. Emily Birdseye turned in her porfolio last month.

Those kids (like Emily), if they pass they can walk, they graduate, they're kind of off the hook, so to speak. But kids who submit June 1? They know they're now walking, said remedial algebra teacher, Yana Aronova.

Remi Sattiewhite won't be walking with his class. He's now in a race just to get his diploma: When I first started this class, I wasn't real confident I could do it. But getting into the class and engaging rather than just slackin' off I was able to have more confidence in myself.

The new graduation requirement was supposed to start with the class of 2008. But the state delayed it five years, concerned too many kids would fail. And with this year's senior class, the issue hasn't gone away. The state Superintendent's office says 20 percent of high school seniors still haven't passed the math standard.

That's why these students are here. It's why Highline is devoting an entire class to helping them make the grade.

We had to say it a few times and some kids still didn't get it, that really, your graduation is on the line, said Aranova.

But if they didn't know before, they know now. Math may never have really been part of the equation. But this year, for the first time, it holds the key to their future.

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