z45\doc\web\2000\10\wasldog.txt
by Josephcoomer@aol.com Oct 2000
Hi
This is an update to an editorial that I am writing which may interest
you. (If you get more than one copy I apologize.) A feedback would be
appreciated.
Joe Coomer
WASL, The Tail that Wags the Dog
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By Joseph C. Coomer
A test is a tool of quality assurance. In education it is a check to
assure that students are learning the material that is being taught. A good
test should cover the difficulty spectrum, some problems that all can do, the
bulk of the problems that most can answer correctly, and a few problems that
only the brightest can solve.
The Washington Assessment and Student Learning (WASL), the State
standards tests is a major departure from this concept. The material given on
these tests are only remotely related to the expected material that a child
should have covered.
Because of their significance, the WASL tests have become the tail that
wags the dog as they are now teaching to the tests. Some of their curriculum
is being altered just for the tests. There was one group (maybe more) of kids
that were paid through a grant to be tutored on typical WASL test material to
improve their WASL scores.
The proponents claim that the tests are very tough and that is true. Sure
they are tough when they give a 4th grader problems that most adults cannot
solve. One sample math problem showed 7 pictures of a scale with different
boxes. Using the symbol > to mean heavier than and < meaning lighter than,
the pictures showed the weight relations of the lettered boxes as: J>T,
LR, W>J, L>R, T>X, and T