Legislators and Gov. Chris Gregoire have decided to phase out the math portion of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and replace it with end-of-course tests. The final budget announced on Wednesday included $3.2 million toward developing exit tests for each math course. The senior class of 2013 will still be the first group of students who must pass a math test to graduate, but they will be able to pass either the WASL math test or end-of-course exams. And the math WASL likely will be eliminated by 2014....I can see a certain amount of pedagogical sense to the plan, detailed in HB 3166 [pdf]. Not sure it's going to be any less expensive, though.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson supports the change, and Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable business group, said, “We’ve basically received a lot of assurances that while this was a different method, the rigor would be the same or perhaps higher.”
Over at the Partnership for Learning blog, alisonm goes over the pros and cons. Her final assessment of the assessment:
Offering both tests gives students more options, which can be a good thing. But the reality is, if standards aren't aligned with curriculum taught by high quality teachers to motivated students, the kind of test given to students won't really make much of a difference.