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WASL Updated Information

November 7, 2005

Below is information received from OSPI on Friday. It's a Q & A of frequently asked questions.

Please note that this year's sophomore class is the first group that will need to meet standards on the reading, writing and math WASL in order to receive a Certificate of Academic Achievement.

Decisions made on WASL retake logistics

OSPI is continuing to resolve many of the logistical issues surrounding the first set of WASL retake opportunities that will be offered to high school students next summer. Here are a few of the key decisions that have been made about the retakes, which have been scheduled for August 7-10:

Who is eligible to take the summer high school WASL? Students who have completed their sophomore year may take the August WASL in reading, writing and/or math. In other words, next August, members of the classes of 2007 and 2008 are eligible. This includes students who did not participate in one or more spring tests, students who need to retake one or more portions of the test to meet new graduation requirements, students who already passed the test but want to improve their score(s), and students transferring from out of state.

What subjects will be tested in the summer? Reading, writing and math tests will be offered in 2006. Science will be included beginning in the summer of 2008.

Do students have to take all of the tests? Students may take one, two or all three of the assessments.

When will students get their scores back from the summer WASL? About mid-October.

Where will the tests be given? Each school district will have the opportunity to select one or more testing sites for its students. Those sites will be finalized by next spring.

How will students sign up for the retakes? Students will be able to register online or via a toll-free telephone number. Sign-ups will begin in June, and registration will close in early July.

Who pays for the retakes? State funding is available to reimburse school districts for costs of administering the summer WASL. OSPI is developing a plan to allocate these funds. The money may be used to pay for staffing and facility needs related to the retakes, as well as other indirect expenses.

The state will pay for each student to have five tries to pass each of the tests required for graduation. Current state law requires students who already have passed a test, but want to retake it to improve their score, to pay a fee. Please note that OSPI will ask the legislature in January to drop that requirement, so that any student can retake the test for free.

Many other retake logistical issues are still being worked out. More information will be shared as it becomes available. 

Other commonly asked questions about the high school WASL

We’re hearing a lot of other questions about the high school WASL. Here are some of the most common, along with our answers:

Who takes the spring high school WASL? Generally, students first take the high school WASL during the spring of their sophomore year. But options are expanding. Beginning this school year, freshmen who believe they’re able to pass one or more portions of the test may take the WASL in the spring. Juniors and seniors may retake one or more parts of the WASL if they choose. For state and federal accountability purposes, OSPI only reports cumulative results for the sophomores who take the WASL in the spring.

When will students get their scores back from the spring WASL? Beginning in 2006, high school students who take the WASL in the spring will receive their results on or about June 10, per state law. OSPI sends student score reports to school district assessment coordinators, who then arrange to distribute them to students. In 2006, high school score reports will arrive in district offices on June 8. School districts will be asked to distribute or mail these reports no later than June 14. Also distributed will be information about the summer retake opportunity, and how students may register for it.

Elementary and middle school students will continue to receive their WASL results soon after school starts in the fall. Timing for this distribution varies from district to district.

 How many chances do students have to take the high school WASL? The state will pay for high school students to take the reading, writing and math tests up to five times or until they pass, whichever comes first. If students pass the tests but want to improve their scores, they can pay a fee for retakes. If students choose to take one or more parts of the test early as freshmen, that will count as one of their five state-paid tries. There are no “practice” attempts, so only students who believe they’re ready should try the test early. Districts may not require freshmen to take one or more portions of the WASL.

When will alternative assessments be available? This school year, OSPI is piloting two alternative assessment options – one that combines WASL scores with a student’s grade point average in specified core subjects, and one that allows students to compile a body of work that shows they meet state standards in reading, writing and/or math. We’ll make recommendations to the legislature in January about pursuing one or both of these options, or some combination of the two. According to state law, any alternative assessment must be approved by the legislature, and must be as rigorous as the WASL. Approved alternative assessments may be used after a student has taken the WASL twice and not met standard in one or more areas. If the legislature approves one or more alternative assessments during the 2006 session, these assessments will be ready for student use in October 2006.

For additional information pertaining to our district, contact either Paul iacobazzi, District Assessment Coordinator, at 360.802.7105 or Mike Nelson, Assistant Superintendent, at 360.802.7103.