Friday, April 18, 2008

WASL Week(s)

ss wrote:

I don't know where/how to request this. How have your students responded to the WASL this week?

All elementary, middle & high schoolers are in the grind. Do they feel comfortable and prepared? What subjects do they feel at a loss with?
In Science, my 10th grader says they haven't at all covered the subjects in the WASL. Is this an individual school gap or do the SPS not cover what the WASL covers?

What about the younger ones?

Thanks!


So... nu? How's the WASL going for your family and friends?

10 comments:

Ad hoc said...

My 7th grader is in 7th grade honors math, which in Shoreline means that he skips 7th grade math and is doing the 8th grade math curriculum. Funny thing is he has to take the 7th grade math WASL, so his teacher has been teaching them 7th grade math for the last month to prepare them for the 7th grade WASL. Bizaar.

Melissa Westbrook said...

As I have previously said, the WASL is very disruptive for the high schools. At Roosevelt we had 10th graders taking it, plus about 200 freshman (freshman can take the 10th grade WASL and if they pass, it counts; my son did reading and writing last year and passed)plus some juniors who had to retake it to graduate. The seniors were presenting their senior projects. Freshman and juniors not taking the WASL slept late and regular classes started at 10.

What I saw as a hall monitor (we tried to have an adult go through and make sure no student not taking the WASL was on the upper floors and to make sure WASL kids were on task)was a lot of kids who seemed tired. It's a long test.

My son said that his friends feared the science WASL the most because, as the original post said, material in it was not covered.

My 10th grader did not take the science WASL; it's not required and I didn't see much point to it.

DisablMom said...

My son is terrified of the WASL. With good reason, he has been completely under prepared for it. This is his first year taking it, so we will see how it goes. If his school doesn't do a better job for him next year, we will consider opting out. As it is, we have been homeschooling him on it... but, after 6 hours of school, and 2 more of homework, he's pretty tired for WASL-prep. He has autism and tons of skills, but he has a lot of problems navigating a test, understanding the requirements or even what is being asked. The accommodations don't help much. He really needs someone to explain the question. With adequate preparation, which would have meant a lot of extra time, I think he would both feel a lot better about it, and perform better.

Charlie Mas said...

My sixth grader is enjoying the break from homework. She has complained of hand cramps from writing for so long. She thinks the questions on the reading portion were stupid and must fight the temptation to put down ridiculous answers - to amuse herself and the person scoring it. She says that the greatest risk is that she will be so bored by the test that she will lose focus and mark the wrong answers through negligence.

Maureen said...

My kids (4th and 8th) have only done math so far. They don't seem stressed, but my 8th grader was annoyed by being asked to draw a particular sort of diagram or graph ('stem and leaf') that he had never heard of. What the point of imposing a standardized curriculum (CMP in this case) on kids if they don't even cover the right terminology to take the WASL?

Similarly, I have had him look over some of the 10th grade science WASL questions I could find online because I've been led to believe that the test to pass out of 9th grade science at RHS is based on the WASL. One question mentioned an "energy pyramid" in a context that implied it might mean "food chain," We have no idea if that was a red herring or if that is real WASL vocabulary. It makes me want to scream!

The time wasting aspect drives me nuts too--I went in to do my standard volunteer time but the WASL totally threw off the schedule, our 4th grade teacher was trying to teach science, but I saw a lot of 'extra recess' going on in the rest of the building. Not much learning going on these two weeks. I really feel for the teachers!

DisablMom said...

The reading WASL, in particular, with it's emphasis on "understanding the writer's point of view", not to mention, "the tester's and grader's point of view", directly assesses the defined deficits of many disabilities. EG. Autism has been defined as a deficit in a person's "Theory of Mind". That is, the autistic student has a specific deficit in understanding another person's mind, including their "point of view". So, I guess we will just discover from the WASL that "Yes, your son still has autism."

SS said...

Do all the Seattle high schools have 2 hour late arrivals for eight days, for the non-WASL takers (mostly 9th, 11th & 12th graders)?
It seems a high price to pay, to loose the equivalent of 2-1/2 days of school each year for 3 years. Are there other options?
My kids are really beat each day and I'm sure not much learning happens for the rest of the days after the test is finished. It seems to be a collosal waste of everyone's time!
(sorry if this is a duplicate post- it did not seem to get posted)

WASLwaste said...

It has been my experience that after the WASL is over.... school is really done. Completely DONE!!! Nobody does anything useful for the rest of the year. That amounts to 2 whole dead months of May and June (field trips, field day, art fest, etc). Not that these things aren't good, it's just that there's the whole "marching in place" attitude that transcends everything. So, 2 months wasted coming up to the WASL, the WASL waste itself (especially when the kid isn't actually doing the WASL), and the post-WASL doldrums. Wouldn't it be better (if we're going to do it at all) to give the WASL at the beginning of each year?

Melissa Westbrook said...

ss, from what I am able to glean from other high schools, yes, most high schools have a late start for students not taking the WASL. I agree; a loss of 16 hours of class time is wrong.

Terry Bergeson needs to go as State Superintendent.

Agent99 said...

WASL is a waste!!! I opt my kids out so they are home with me in the mornings for the next few days. When they arrive at school after testing, not much goes on. My seventh grader says they just play games.

I wish all parents would speak up against WASL.

Our state could use the MAP test (Measures of Academic Progress). MAP is done on computer, only takes a few hours and results are back in 72 hours. The cost of MAP is about $10, and the cost of WASL is $112.