Friday, August 31, 2007

WASL Results


This article was in the P-I today about the WASL results.


Here is a quote from the article:

Despite the delay and "mixed messages" from the Legislature, Bergeson said, just over 60 percent of the class of 2008 who took the WASL passed in all three subjects.

"The train wreck everybody has been imagining isn't going to happen," she said.

I will have to respectfully disagree with Superintendent Bergeson. The possibility that 40% of the students in the class of 2008 may not graduate is a train wreck of unprecedented proportions.

Another quote from the article:

For now, students who fail the math exam will have to complete a state-approved alternative assessment or take additional math courses.

This kind of glosses over what the requirements are. The students will need to do a Collection of Evidence that is very difficult (I know because I have taken the training and have done the problems). If the students take additional math courses their is a complex formula that determines what the students' grade has to be. In general it will have to be a "B", but it will depend on many factors. Both of these requirements are very difficult and in reality, the easiest way for a student to get their diploma is to meet standards on the WASL.

Both of these alternatives are designed for students students who are doing well in school, but have not been able to pass the WASL, but are close. The question I have is what is being done to help the students who are struggling in school and no where near close to passing. No one seems to be talking about those students what is being done to help them. Are we just going to let them fall to the wayside. The SPS has large numbers of these students in its high schools and it seems as if the state and district has punted on these students and left the individual schools figure what to do with them.


Charlie Mas said...

Michael -

Yes, the plan is to just let those students fall to the wayside. Those students, the ones who are struggling in school and no where near close to passing, just will not get high school diplomas. Not only is that part of the plan, it is a key part of the plan. The planners believe restricting diploma distribution to the students working at standards will make the diploma more meaningful. They believe that granting diplomas to students who can't pass cheapens them.

I think a lot of these students will simply drop out. The drop out rate is currently around 40%, so if 40% of the 10th grade students can't pass the WASL and therefore drop out (leave school without a diploma) by the end of the 12th grade, that will be about right.

The state, the district, and the schools have always punted on these students. Now we're just finding and counting them.

The alternative, of course, would be to do what is required to bring these students up to standards. That would require early and aggressive intervention starting at kindergarten. Anytime a student falls behind the grade level pace, at any point from K to 10, the student would have to get an intensive, extended, and enriched alternative to the general education classroom.

That would require the District to spend more money on those students because they would be in smaller classes for a longer day. That, of course, would take resources away from the other students who would then be in larger classes. Of course, the general education classes would only have students who were working at or beyond grade level in them, so maybe they would be easier to manage and more progress could be made.

But short answer: yes, the plan is to allow these students to fail because these students have always failed, whether we talked about it before or not.

I didn't write the plan and I don't support or defend the plan, I'm just telling you what the plan is.

Jet City mom said...

if we don't have dropouts and we cut down on immigration- who the heck is going to work at Walmart?

But actually we have $4.2 million for math and literacy coaches for teachers, and an additional $3.1 million, to remediate 1th graders with the Pathways program-which our family thought was very effective.

In 4th, 7th & 10th grade my daughter received a 1, on the math WASL test.

I assume like the SAT you get a point just for writing your name.
Spring quarter of 11th grade, one of her "electives" was Pathways. he retook the math WASL, and was a just a few points shy of receiving a 4.

Its too bad this instruction couldn't have been offered after she took the 4th or 7th grade WASLs and received the lowest score- but just a relatively short time spent on direct instruction had direct results.

( Ironically, for 5 years she had an "individualized education plan" that was neither "individualized- or educational", but I fought to remove her from special education since that time was a waste- stuck in a room with a bunch of kids who all have different challenges- and if my daughter was representative, none of them were getting what they needed to learn.-but removed from SPED, but with others who have similar challenges, with focused instruction, she learned what she needed to know- what a concept)

Anonymous said...

I wanted to find out how many kids took the math test, and how many didn't pass.

73,075 took it, about 36,000 failed.

I read the P.I. article, and clicked to here.


where I saw that 50.2% had passed.

I could not find the number, however, so I clicked on the link.

'10th Grade' which errored out,
so I clicked on 'ospi website'


and then I clicked on

'2007 WASL Score Release
State, district and school results are now available.
Student reports will be sent home by local school districts shortly.
Click here to learn about the results
and get helpful information.'

I read Terry's statement, and found no number.

But, on that page I found a spreadsheet which had the magic number of 73075!


'Status of Class of 2008 (xls)'

I suppose 50.2% passing math sounds a lot better than over 36,000 failing?

Anonymous said...

Michael's post is not quite accurate. Students who fail the WASL math section don't have to do a Collection of Evidence (though the can do that, or present a high enough ACT or SAT or PSTA score, or a passing AP test score). If a student does not pass the WASL math section or any of the alternatives (those things I just mentioned), they can graduate by continuing to take - and pass- math classes. The difference is that students who pass the WASL or meet an alternative requirement get a CAA (certificate of academic achievement, the new "gold star" diploma), students who don't but continue to take and pass math classes get a diploma.

Jet City mom said...

To clarify- students must either pass the WASL or an alternate assessment in math to have " academic acheivement" on their diploma( Like SAT I assume- although I don't know what score they would require- SAT of course allows calculators while WASL does not)

But as it has also been noted that WASL math isn't enough to prepare for college math, I hope we continue to encourage districts to increase rigor in the curriculum.

To earn a high school Certificate of Academic Achievement, students in the Classes of 2008-12 must:

* Earn all the credits for their high school diploma required by the state and local district
* Complete pass the reading, writing and math Washington Assessments of Student Learning (WASL) or one of the alternative assessments
* Complete a high school and beyond plan
* Complete a culminating project

The student’s high school transcript will designate that the student has earned the Certificate of Academic Achievement, which shows the student has a solid foundation of skills and knowledge in reading, writing and math.

Ive been talking to local parents who have their kids in private schools & they are shocked to learn how low Washington states graduation requirements are.

They didn't realize that no language is required to graduate-
even though the state colleges require language for entrance,
that only two years of math are required- and no level is specified
- only two years of science and 3 years of English.

Contrast that with Oregon, who requires 22 credits instead of Washingtons 19 to graduate( inc 4 years of english) & have more increases in the works including requiring a language.

Melissa Westbrook said...

I'd rather have more concentration on academics (i.e. foreign language/math)than community service/senior project. I appreciate the idea behind community service but I've heard of a lot of cheating and the senior project varies so wildly from school to school that it's a joke.

Anonymous said...

The required score on the math SAT is 470, 47 on the PSAT, and 19 on the ACT. But you have to take the WASL twice and get a valid scaled score before exercising that option (you can't just refuse to take it, or write your name on it and leave the rest blank).

Helen Schinske