Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Is the WASL a Graduate's Greatest Nemesis?

The Tacoma Herald is reporting that WASL is not the biggest hurdle keeping students from earning diplomas: lack of credits is.

A lack of academic credits looms as a bigger barrier to graduation than the WASL for the class of 2008, according to area school districts...

Consider Cascade High School.

As of Friday, the Everett school had 386 students in its class of 2008, but 63 were behind on credits they need in order to graduate on time.

Of the 323 students on track to earn enough credits to graduate, seven have not passed the WASL's reading mark, five have not passed writing and 15 have not passed both reading and writing portions of the 10th-grade WASL. Of the 27 students with WASL problems, about 40 percent have either not taken the tests or not had their WASL scores recorded.

Of 63 Cascade students behind on credits, seven haven't passed the reading test, nine haven't passed the writing and 11 have not passed either exams.

While teachers and legislators look for ways to delay or de-emphasize the WASL, students need to be paying attention to all of the graduation requirements. It will be a few more months before we know how all of these various considerations truly impact the graduation rate. For now, it doesn't look like we'll be able to blame the WASL.

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