I attended a seminar on Saturday on this alternative to passing the WASL. Since I am a math teacher, I attended the math section, so I cannot speak to the reading or writing, but here is what I saw.
The easiest way for a student to receive their CAA (Certificate of Academic Achievement) is to pass the WASL. The requirements and the rigor required to have a Collection of Evidence (COE) is very demanding and time-consuming. This is just not a “portfolio”. There are very specific math content strands and math process strands that have to be met. The content strands are: Number Sense, Measurement, Geometric Sense, Probability and Statistics and Algebraic Sense. The process strands are Solves Problems/Reasons Logically, Communicates Understanding and Makes Connections.
This all sounds simple enough until you dig into the details. As an example, Ratio and Proportion are an element of Number Sense. What you have to demonstrate is a proficient manner is the ability to understand and apply inverse proportion. That is way more demanding (and confusing) for high school students than straight proportion.
This is just an example of the complexity required to use the COE to receive the CAA. There must be a minimum of 8 examples and no more than 12. The entire collection must contain work samples that demonstrate at least two different targets from each content strand and there are 5 required content strands. Two of these work samples must be produced “on-demand”. They must also be of at least “moderate complexity”.
As a math instructor, I have a curriculum that I will work hard to modify so that the questions I ask meet the sufficiency requirement of the COE. I just want to warn anyone who thinks this is going to be an “easy” way to get around the WASL, in math, at least that is not going to be the case.For more information here is the link: http://www.k12.wa.us/assessment/caaoptions/default.aspx