Posts Tagged ‘Assessment’

Learning Essentials Assessment Program

December 13, 2008

10-Points in the Development of a Quality Assessment Program

I  support the use of content standards as one component of an accountability system for the students and schools of the State of Washington. I further believe that state required accountability tests, based on these standards, must be practical and useful to parents and educators. These tests are not appropriate, however, as gatekeepers for graduation or promotion from grade-to-grade.

To ensure that assessment programs are valid, reliable and produce practical information that may be used in the development of high quality academic, career, vocational and alternate programs, it is necessary to work with parents, educators, the State Board of Education and interested stakeholders, to implement a new LEARNING ESSENTIALS ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (LEAP) for the State of Washington.


Planning A Trip to the Future? Get a Good Map

March 8, 2007


Suppose you are in St. Louis, Missouri and you are planning a trip to Vancouver, Washington. Only two maps are available, the one given Lewis and Clark at the start of their journey, or a U.S. highway map from Walmart. Which map would you choose?


The Cabinetmaker

January 24, 2007


Let’s say I am a cabinetmaker specializing in high quality, world-class furniture. I want to be sure my work stacks up against the competition so I get out my trusty hammer, which is about a foot long, to measure the dimensions of my new cabinet. I drop the hammer on the surface of my labor of love, flop it end to end a couple of times, and decide my work meets my high standard because it is over 3 flops long.

Ridiculous? Yes, but this is precisely what we are doing when we attempt to use a blunt instrument like the WASL to measure the complexity of learning in an individual human brain. Test experts have been trying to tell us this for years but we have heeded the voices of the Business Roundtable and other “Blue Ribbon” groups who, in their uninformed reaction to alleged inadequacies in our public schools, have succeeded only in dropping a “hammer” on our children. To truly improve instruction we need precise classroom-based tests that provide teachers with the information they need to fine-tune instruction, just as the cabinet maker needs precision measuring instruments to ensure the “fit” of a top-quality piece of furniture.

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…)

Things That Bother Me About the WASL

October 19, 2006


Here are some things that bother me about the WASL and Washington Standards:

1. I have attempted without success to discover an accepted framework of learning that supports Washington’s model of curriculum and assessment. OSPI references something called the “Carkhuff Conceptual Framework,” but I have been unable to find anything about it in the educational literature. Can someone send me to a reputable source of information on this framework? Or is there one? (more…)

WASL-Wikiality: Sounds Like a Job for Mythbusters

October 10, 2006


Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia where truth is determined democratically. If enough users agree that something is true, it becomes fact. Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central’s Colbert Report has coined the term Wiki-ality to describe the reality defined by such a process. This article will attempt to show that the WASL is based on Wiki-ality and does not stand up to investigation. To do this we will rely on the methods of another cable TV show, MYTHBUSTERS, wherein hosts Jamie and Adam use actual research to show what’s real and what’s fiction.