Jan 1, 2007

doubt not the WASL

Dare ye?
After finding scoring errors in my children's tests last fall, I was assured by officials at OSPI the tests would be rescored. Instead, OSPI recently "changed procedures," now refusing to allow rescoring or appeals for WASL scores in grades three through eight. Accurate or not, WASL test scores become part of every child's permanent education records and are being used to make important decisions about student's placement and the type of instruction they receive.

The subjective nature of WASL's short-answer and extended-response questions brings its results into question. Scoring accuracy becomes a larger issue, considering the track record of Pearson, the company contracted to score WASL.

Recently, Pearson inaccurately scored nearly 4,000 SAT exams and 8,000 Minnesota Standards tests (preventing many students from graduating). With WASL's questionable reliability and validity, it's not surprising that WASL results often contradict other assessments.
I'm with the writer of this op-ed until the last paragraph:
Washington state must replace WASL with a timely, reliable assessment. Those who instruct our children must be allowed to focus on teaching and learning -- not assessment.
Good assessment is at the core of good teaching. If you don't know how to assess what your students are learning, you aren't a teacher--you're an Animatronic Lincoln.

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