Sunday, June 29, 2008

WASL Redesign

Fresh from the OSPI presses to your web browser, here are the changes to the WASL for 2009:

Shorten the test with fewer constructed response items
  • Fewer short answer items and no extended response items in Grades 3, 4 and 5 in reading, mathematics, and science
  • Fewer short answer items in Grades 6, 7, and 8 in reading and fewer short answer items and extended response items in Grades 6, 7, and 8 in mathematics and science
  • No change in HS
Shorten the number of sessions
  • Fewer number of sessions in Grades 3, 4, and 5 in mathematics and science (from 3 sessions to 2 sessions: therefore districts may reduce the number of days used for test administration)
  • Same number of sessions in Grades 6, 7, and 8 (2 sessions: however, because the test is shorter, districts may choose to reduce the number of days used for test administration)
  • For example, districts may administer the two sessions in one day (administer the entire reading WASL on one day), or administer two subjects on one day (administer one session of the reading WASL in the morning and one session of the mathematics WASL in the afternoon).
  • The State will maintain the same 3 week test window. Districts may decide how to administer the test within the window.
Click on the above graphic to enlarge the information.

I have no doubt that the changes being made are cost-cutting measures, but it makes my heart ache to see the decreases in constructed response items (both short and extended). I can't speak for the other testing areas, but in science, the numbers were originally determined in order to eliminate gender bias. Might results be skewed in the future? Can we really use selected response heavy tests as valid measures of student achievement?


Jim Anderson said...

Typically, what's done with the constructed responses? Who's in charge of, say, upgrading or modifying standards based on WASL results?

The Science Goddess said...

I can't speak for other teachers, but the released constructed response items (along with the item analysis) provided a wealth of information for me.

Upgrading and modifying standards for math was recently completed and is starting for science. I haven't heard a peep about literacy standards.