Archive for November, 2006

Off-Grade Testing

November 30, 2006


The use of the WASL at grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 is completely inappropriate. The test is instructionally insensitive with only a few items sampling a broad range of EALRS. Because there are so many extended answer items, the total number of questions on any given topic does not provide sufficient coverage to fully define areas of weakness and/or strength. Turn-around time for scoring precludes any useful response to individual students and in any event the method of reporting student scores as a 1, 2, 3, or 4 does not provide the kind of data a teacher needs to plan appropriate remediation.


A Common Misconception?

November 25, 2006


“The WASL concept of subject matter testing as a basis for earning a comprehensive high school diploma seems intuitively obvious.”

It may seem obvious, but the people who design such tests and the experts who interpret their results suggest that they absolutely should not be used for such purposes.

For example, the WASL Technical Report, produced by the OSPI, states that “Scores from one test given on a single occasion should never be used to make important decisions about students placement, the type of instruction they receive or retention in a given grade in school. It is important to corroborate individual scores on WASL tests with classroom-based and other local evidence of student learning.” Why does the OSPI endorse a practice its own technical manual decries? (more…)