Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Collection of Evidence

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


Anonymous said...

The site given also mentioned:
In November 2006, the State Board of Education approved the following scores for the mathematics components of the following assessments:

PSAT: 47
SAT: 470
ACT: 19

I think hitting or exceeding those scores would probably be easier for many students than either the 10th-grade WASL or the COE option.

Anonymous said...

But to use those scores from the PSAT, SAT or ACT you have to take and fail the math WASL 2 times. It's not a great option.

One thing to keep in mind; a student can take the WASL in 9th grade and have it count. (If a student doesn't pass, it does count as one of the tries.) I looked over the reading/writing portions of the WASL and decided my 9th grader could handle it. He took it this past week. (His high school wasn't particularly happy but OSPI offers it as an option.) He said it was pretty easy especially if you have been taught the 5-paragraph essay in middle school.

This option basically lets you get the WASL out of the way sooner because students only get busier as the go through high school so this will afford my son more time next year.

Anonymous said...

You can't do the COE until you've failed the WASL twice, either. It just seems to me that the multiple-choice options are probably not as tough for a lot of students -- those cutoffs are below median.

Anonymous said...

COE just makes me ill. I couldn't care less about the WASL one way or another, but COE is going to be an ugly new pile of paperwork and bureaucratic minutia for counselors and classroom teachers to navigate. Thank God I LOVE working in a Rube Goldberg contraption. Sometimes I even have a little bit of time between reports, endless days of testing, and paperwork to teach children real things. Bonus!