WASL test results are in the mail


The Mirror

Sophomores and their families should know in about 10 days how they did on the state assessment test known as the WASL.

Students took the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) earlier this year and sophomores must pass three sections, reading, writing and mathematics, to earn their diplomas as seniors.

Officials from the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) said this week plans were in the works to help those students who didn’t pass the exams. That might mean summer school.

OSPI said families should get test results in the mail between June 9 and June 14. Districts will receive preliminary results on June 8.

The public will learn at some point in June how many sophomores statewide passed the test, but OPSI — as of Thursday — hadn’t determined that date.

School district results will not be publicly released until September. In between June and September, districts and OSPI go over test results and correct any errors on students’ scores. While the corrections have not — historically — been significant enough to change the overall results, a state education official said Thursday the results would wait until fall to remove errors. Releasing test scores about the time school starts has been OSPI’s regular pattern.

Sophomores that don’t pass any of the three sections of the test will have four re-takes. State and local officials are preparing for students to take summer classes to prepare for re-taking the exam. The first opportunity is Aug. 7-10.

Parents and students have primary responsibility for signing up between June 9 and July 9 to take the summer test, said Joe Willhoft, assistant superintendent of assessment and research, at OSPI.

Those re-taking the test don’t have to do it in their home district. If they are traveling or staying in another community in the state during the summer months, they can re-take the test there, Willhoft said.

Slightly more than 42 percent of the sophomores that took the WASL in 2005 passed the three sections. More than 47 percent of last year’s sophomores in Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) passed.

Still, Tom Murphy, FWPS superintendent, said earlier this year during his annual state of the schools speech he anticipated 700 sophomores not passing the three sections the first time.

Ahead of the state, Federal Way converted its summer school programs at the primary and secondary levels to help students struggling with the WASL.

New this year for school districts is funds from the state to pay for summer school. For students who barely miss passing a section of the exam the state will pay $120 per subject in summer school. The district will get more money — $330 per student — for those who scored significantly below the passing mark.

As of the last legislative session students have other options besides passing the WASL to earn their diplomas. After attempting to pass the test twice, students can also request their class grades be compared to other students in their school who have taken the same classes but passed the state test. They can also present a portfolio of their work showing they mastered the learning requirements set out by the state.

For math, students’ PSAT, SAT or ACT scores will be considered.

OSPI stated guidelines for the portfolio — which officials are calling a “collection of evidence” — are being hashed out.

Going these routes is not for students who failed the WASL by a significant margin, Willhoft said.

For the first time this year, special education students had the opportunity to take a “developmentally appropriate WASL” known as a DAW. If, for example, a sophomore is determined to have the intellect of a fourth grader, the 10th grader would take a fourth grade WASL. That would be determined by the students’ teacher, parents and special education experts. The same group of people typically decides what the students will learn and how that will happen.

Staff writer Mike Halliday: 925-5565,

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