Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Parenting the WASL

The Tacoma News Tribune has posted a story about how many parents are exercising their right to view their child's WASL booklet(s). As one might expect, there are very few who choose to do so. My guess is that OSPI and districts everywhere are breathing a sigh of relief.

We have had only a couple of parents in this district take this option. We try to supply them with anchor papers or other comparable evidence so as they look at the work done by their own child, they have a better understanding of the score. So far, I don't believe that anyone has chosen to challenge the grade.

I think the most interesting portion of the article was this:
Becky Venable, a mother of three from Cheney, Spokane County, became curious about the WASL when her middle child was in fourth grade and was literally ill from the stress of having to take the test. When he was in seventh grade, he failed all three parts – math, reading and writing.

So Venable asked to see his seventh-grade test results. “My husband was so horribly upset I thought he was going to literally kill the guy who was showing us the test,” Venable recalled.

She said they could clearly see where their child got frustrated, because in the reading section there was one question he didn’t answer at all. “But he got points for writing a little essay on how much he hated the WASL,” she added.

When they tried to appeal his results, they discovered high school tests are the only ones eligible for a scoring review because they are the only ones that count toward graduation.

Venable and her husband decided their two younger children would opt out in the future.

Based on current rules, however, Washington students will not qualify for alternative assessments unless they attempt the 10th-grade WASL at least once.

Venable said they might send their now-10th-grade son to private school for his senior year to avoid the WASL graduation requirement.

“I just felt like the state was experimenting with my children – and they’re not doing that any more,” she said.
Experimenting sounds a bit extreme...and in the meantime, I'm not sure that it sends an appropriate lesson to these children that if you're nervous about something, mommy and daddy will find some way for you not to have to do that. Is it not more important to know that your child has a set of basic skills which prepare him/her for (early) life beyond high school? Would you not want to help your son or daughter learn some strategies for successfully managing stress? What will happen to these kiddos when they have a hard day on the job---will mom and dad swoop in and save them?


DrPezz said...

I wonder if someone will sue the state for allowing students of privilege to escape the WASL when students of limited means have little or no recourse. Possibly, this could be argued Section 1, Clause 2 of the 14th amendment. Since educational law can potentially "abridge" the privileges of some students, I could see this becoming a litigious issue.

Jim Anderson said...

What will happen to these kiddos when they have a hard day on the job---will mom and dad swoop in and save them?