Kudos to Craig Clohessy and the editorial board (Moscow-Pullman Daily News, April 10-11, 2004) for their rational thinking and common sense on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL).
The WASL continues to be a work in progress and has yet to be determined reliable and valid. Yet, state officials are now pushing state colleges and universities to use it as a factor in admissions! These officials demonstrate a rigid, clutching loyalty to the WASL that is downright bewildering! They seem to seek out ways to multiply the misery that the WASL can inflict on children, teachers, and administrators.
Northwest Professional Educators (NWPE), a nonprofit, nonunion professional educators organization focused on students and professionalism as our highest priorities, surveyed teachers on their view of the effectiveness of Washington's education reform. Some notable results indicate that:
Testing and accountability are critical for education reform. But, let’s use a little of that critical thinking that we’re supposed to be teaching our students!
- 67% believe that the WASL distracts from classroom instruction;
- 75% believe that the WASL has caused a narrowing of curriculum to students’ detriment;
- 31% are aware of ethical violations in WASL administration;
- 69% believe that the expenditure of state funds on the education reform agenda tied to the WASL has not been an efficient and effective use of state education dollars for raising student achievement;
- 77% believe the WASL should be discontinued in favor of an effective but less costly student assessment and accountability system that includes multiple measures.
NWPE calls on state officials to put students, not a flawed test, as their highest priority and to make a course correction as soon as possible!
—Cindy Omlin, Executive Director