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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

More WASL News

Both the PI and the Times reported that 657 more kids have passed the reading and writing WASL.

Out of nearly 12,000 students needing to pass the WASL to graduate in 2008, 657 have passed their WASL retakes. "A total of 8,239 students took the WASL in August at 233 sites statewide. That number includes more than 1,000 juniors who passed one or more parts of the test."

From the Times article:

"Counting the August results, there are now 61,178 seniors who've passed both reading and writing on the WASL. That's 84.5 percent of the class, counting only those who are still in school, and look like they'll have enough credits to graduate. About 64 percent have passed math."

Great but that means that almost 4,000 students who needed to retake the WASL didn't. I mean didn't even try. What will happen to them?

As I have mentioned before, 9th graders can take any part of the 10th grade WASL (except the science). Ninth-graders who want to test need to pre-register online or by phone Dec. 10, 2007 through Jan. 14, 2008. Information will be available at www.k12.wa.us/waslregistration. It counts as one of your 5 tries and if you pass, you are done with that section of the WASL.

(By the way, those of you with 9th graders, let us know if your school has made any special plans for student. I've been hearing rumblings about it at Roosevelt and I'd like to know if this is happening elsewhere.)

About the Math WASL - I don't know what all the wringing of hands and pulling of hair by the Governor or the newspapers was about. Kids have to take the Math WASL and pass it OR do some other work. A person at OSPI admitted to me the easiest thing for kids to do is just pass the math WASL. The other options (which I believe the deadline to do is Friday) are as follows:

"For the graduating classes of 2008-2012, students must pass the reading and writing WASL, a state-approved alternative to the WASL or an assessment for students in special education. Students can meet the state’s math requirement by passing the math WASL, a state-approved alternative or an assessment for students in special education, OR, they can continue to earn math credits until they graduate. Students who pass the reading, writing and math assessments earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement or Certificate of Individual Achievement and a high school diploma. Students who fulfill the math requirement by earning math credits do not receive a certificate but do earn a diploma.

For the graduating classes of 2008-2012, students must pass the reading and writing WASL, a state-approved alternative to the WASL or an assessment for students in special education. Students can meet the state’s math requirement by passing the math WASL, a state-approved alternative or an assessment for students in special education, OR, they can continue to earn math credits until they graduate. Students who pass the reading, writing and math assessments earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement or Certificate of Individual Achievement and a high school diploma. Students who fulfill the math requirement by earning math credits do not receive a certificate but do earn a diploma.

The Certificate of Academic Achievement Options are:
Collection of Evidence – Students compile a set of classroom work samples with the help of a teacher(s). Collections for students in Career and Technical Education programs can include work from their program and other classes. The state scores collections two times a year.
Fee Waivers are available for eligible students to take the approved PSAT, SAT, ACT and AP assessments.
SAT or ACT – Students may use their math, reading or English and writing scores on college readiness tests.
Minimum math scores: SAT – 470; and ACT – 19. Minimum SAT and ACT reading and writing scores: State Board of Education to determine by Dec. 1, 2007, or earlier, if possible.
– Right now, students may submit a math score of 47 as an approved alternative. After Aug. 31, 2008, the PSAT will no longer be an approved alternative.
Advanced Placement – Students may use a score of three or higher on select AP exams. Math: Calculus or statistics; Writing: English language and composition; Reading: English literature and composition, macroeconomics, microeconomics, psychology, United States history, world history, United States government and politics, or comparative government and politics
WASL/Grades Comparison– A student’s grades in math courses and/or English courses are compared with the grades of students who took the same courses AND passed the WASL. This option is available to students in 12thgrade. To access this option, a student must have an overall cumulative Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 3.2 on a 4.0 grading scale."

Kids who can pass the SAT or ACT or an AP class or likely to pass the math WASL. I was surprised to learn that over 700 students statewide did some other option besides passing the math WASL. I wonder if OSPI will ever have a breakout of who did, where and which options were used.

10 comments:

Michael Rice said...

As Melissa points out, the alternatives to passing the math WASL are designed for students who are close (390 - 399) to meeting the standard. If you ask people what is being done for students who are not close, you get a shrug of the shoulders. In other words, OSPI has no strategy for helping students who are not close to meeting the standard. This means that large number of students will not graduate this year. I will be very curious to see what the demographic breakdown of the students who don't meet standards in math will be.

Anonymous said...

Michael,

Which is more important, that large number of students not on track to graduate this year, suddenly be allowed to graduate on time OR that they spend more time, an extra yr or more, getting the skills needed for graduation.
I would think particularly at the school where you teach, where kids of color will face a tight job market coupled with discrimination that you'd want them to be as sharp and marketable as possible.

Michael Rice said...

I firmly believe that students should get all of the extra help that they need, so they are as well prepared as possible for whatever they choose to do next in life. My point was that OSPI, SPS, and all other education agencies have no plan for this. We are going to have incredibly large numbers of "5th Year Seniors" walking around this state and no one knows what to do with them, so they can graduate.

Charlie Mas said...

Does anyone - Michael, anonymous at 10:28, or anyone else - really think these students will stay in school as fifth year seniors. Will they remain, continuing to take classes and working towards passing the WASL so they can graduate?

Will they have to enroll again? If not, will the schools be expecting them? If they are there, will the schools be able to accept the usual number of freshmen?
For example, if 50 "seniors" at Garfield who don't graduate are back in the school next year, how will that impact the crowding in the building? How will it impact the scheduling? Is the Enrollment Department ready to enroll fifth year seniors? Are the schools ready to teach them?

Anonymous said...

Charlie,

Yes, I do believe a good many, definitely not all, but more than half, will return as 5th year seniors. Why? Because they, like your children, want opportunity, they just have greater challenges to get there.
Their parents will return them to school, their own self-interest will. Struggling students don't want to be handed anything, they want to earn it. Yes, some will get discouraged and drop out but I have faith in the majority.

Charlie Mas said...

In that case, how will that impact school capacity and the new assignment plan?

Anonymous said...

I would think particularly at the school where you teach, where kids of color will face a tight job market coupled with discrimination that you'd want them to be as sharp and marketable as possible.

And why do we think WASL makes somebody more prepared, sharp or marketable? I've hired many people, and WASL status would never figure into it. It simply is another meaningless obstacle. WASL doesn't make a high school grad more marketable, but it does exclude plenty from graduating. Maybe that's really its purpose, an easy way to keep the same people disenfranchised.

Anonymous said...

The WASL'S sole purpose being to disenfranchise certain students? You've been staying up too late watching KGB thrillers.

You say you've hired lots of people, but did your hires need to understand high levels of math, technology and fiscal solutions.

There is a reason why MIcrosoft and the business community has gotten behind standards

Anonymous said...

I retired from Microsoft a few years ago and hired plenty of people for them. I worked in software development and shipped countless products. I know what they need. WASLage isn't it. Passing the WASL (or anything like it from anywhere) was NEVER an issue for anybody at Microsoft and never came up in any interview.(Thank you very much.)

Anonymous said...

Why can't 9th graders take the 10th Grade Science WASL but can take everything else? WHy? please reply ASAP!
thnks!