Cost Comparison


Standardized tests = $2.86/student


WASL = $23/student ($27/student when development costs are added in)


Additionally, OSPI has 16.5 full time equivalent employees at a total cost of $825,154 working on WASL-related activities.

Comparison of Time Required


Standardized tests require NO preparation time other than normal studies.  Time allotted to administer the tests are:

3rd grade:        2.5 hrs.

6th grade:        3.5 hrs.

9th grade:        3.25 hrs.


The WASL is untimed, but is given over a 3-week window of time.  Recommended times (according to OPSI) are:

4th grade:        6.33 hrs.

7th grade:        6.92 hrs.

10th grade:      7.25 hrs.


The preparation time for the WASL is HUGE!


The WASL is "an exam their teachers have been preparing them for since the first day of school with tightly focused instruction and hours of practice drills and tutoring."

"[T]he test is now a primary driver of what is taught…"  Seattle Times, April 20, 2000, p. A-1


Test or Assessment?


Test: (5) Education - Any series of questions, exercises, or other means of measuring the skill, knowledge, intelligence, capacities, or other aptitudes of an individual or group.



Assessment:   (4) To set a value on; to appraise; Synonym: estimate



"We have to let students know that there are no right answers."

--William Glasser, OBE reformer, Schools Without Failure


"…today's students must master the new basic skills -- teamwork, critical thinking, making decisions, communication, adaptability to change and understanding whole systems."

--High Skills, High Wages, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board (Washington state), 1994

Validity  means the exam is an accurate measure of what the student knows.


Reliability means that the grade given a particular exam would be exactly the same, no matter who graded it or when.


"When 300 papers were graded by fifty-three graders (a total of 15,900 readings), more than one third of the papers received every possible grade.  That is, 101 of the 300 papers received all nine grades: A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, and D. …


94 percent [of the papers] received either seven, eight, or nine different grades; and no essay received less than five different grades from fifty-three readers."


100% of the 300 essays received 5 different grades!


1961 study by Paul Diederich and his colleagues, as reported by E. D, Hirsch in The Schools We Need and Why We Don't Have Them