Letters to the Editor

Just opt out of WASL test

WASL stands for Washington Assessment of Student Learning.  A more appropriate acronym would be WASTT (Washington Assessment of Student Test Taking) or WATTT (Washington Assessment of Teachers Teaching the Test). 

Our lawmakers have started the process of taking teaching out of the classroom. Already such programs as physical education, music, and other art programs have been slashed to make more time to prepare for the WASL.

I agree standards must be met to graduate. Those standards should be based on a child’s entire career in high school, not on one test. What about those children with poor testing skills but excellent project skills? What about those children with dyslexia (a word the Washington education system fails to recognize) or other learning differences?

Many teachers do not like the test any better than the students do. Much of what they must teach now is rote memorization. Teaching has actually been taken out of the classroom. Along with that is the fun of learning.

The WASL test is highly subjective. A student can receive full credit on an answer if they explain themselves well but get the answer wrong. It also depends on who reads the writing portion. Two different graders can give different points for the same answer. For a sampling of the kinds of questions our children are being asked go to http://www.pasd.wednet.edu/school/mathWASL/6c.htm.

Many parents do not realize they have the right to opt out from the test.  Opting their tenth grader out is a tough decision right now. There are people fighting this graduation requirement. Hopefully the class of 2008 won’t have to pass the WASL by the time they are seniors. 

To opt out your child go to www.mothersagainstwasl.org for the form. Make a statement to our governor that we want teaching put back in the classroom and test taking taken out.

Beth Koeller

Oak Harbor

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