Sent: Thursday, April 22, 2004 6:59 AM
Subject: Re: [wa-ed-deform] Digest Number 1417
In a message dated 4/21/2004 6:15:39 PM Pacific Standard Time, writes:
My principal now says you can't look at the WASL science test
before they give it.
Is it the Science or the entire WASL?  Did you see this?

Parents can't view WASL anymore! See # 6




TO:         Educational Service District Superintendents
Chief School District Administrators
School Principals
District Assessment Coordinators
School Public Relations Professionals


FROM:   Dr. Terry Bergeson, State Superintendent of Public Instruction


RE:         2004 WASL Administration


This memorandum provides information about several issues related to the 2004 Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) administration. Please read this memorandum carefully and share the following information widely with other key staff in your school building or district.


1.   Media—The 2004 window for WASL administration is April 19 through May 7. During this period, there will be a heightened sense of awareness in the media about the WASL. I would like to offer a reminder that it is important to minimize the number of distractions that could interfere with student performance. It is not appropriate for reporters to be in the classroom while students are taking the WASL, nor do they have permission to film students or test booklets at any time. Questions from the media about this policy can be directed to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Communications Department at 360.725.6011.


2.   Aiming HighAs part of our ongoing efforts to give parents timely, frequent, and clear information about Washington education reform and the role of statewide assessments, OSPI is releasing a new publication called, Aiming High. Aiming High offers parents a new perspective on WASL preparation and information on how to access additional resources. This publication will be mailed to all schools and districts on April 8–9, 2004. As this is a prototype publication, it will not be available in Russian or Spanish. It is suggested that a principal letter accompany this publication. A pdf file of the parent brochure and the principal’s sample letter can be found at:


      This publication will supplement (not replace) Reaching Higher, our existing parent publication. This fall, Reaching Higher will be updated with a new look and narrower focus—helping parents use state assessment results to improve student learning. Reaching Higher will continue to be available in English, Russian, and Spanish. Schools and districts should receive Reaching Higher in mid-August 2004.


      If you have any questions about Aiming High or Reaching Higher, contact Adrienne Gardner at (360) 725-6428 or


3.   Standardized Grade 10 Administration Schedule—As the WASL becomes both a benchmark for high school graduation and a gateway to future education and career opportunities, it is important that we create a level playing field in the administration of the assessment. Recent legislation includes provisions for a Certificate of Academic Achievement (previously referred to as Certificate of Mastery), recording WASL scores on student transcripts, retakes, and a special Scholar’s designation. A standardized testing schedule for the administration of the high school WASL will keep the test content more secure and will increase the confidence in the reliability and accuracy of individual student scores. This standardized test administration is scheduled to be mandatory for the spring 2005 WASL. This will have all high school students taking the same test on the same date at the same time according to the required schedule. For the spring 2004 WASL administration, a voluntary common 10th grade schedule is provided in the WASL Coordinator’s Manual. Districts are strongly encouraged to review and implement this schedule if possible this spring. Districts will be afforded an opportunity in May to provide feedback on the voluntary schedule that will be considered when establishing the final guidelines for spring 2005. Please review the schedule and share this information with administrators and staff, especially those who have responsibilities for the school calendar or scheduling school events.


4.   Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day—This year marks the 12th anniversary of this national event, which falls on April 22. This is a popular annual event that, unfortunately, falls during the testing window for the WASL. National event organizers set the date—the fourth Thursday in April—independent of state testing schedules. Districts may want to consider the impact this date has on their student populations as they establish their administration schedules. The standardized Grade 10 schedule includes testing on this day due to feedback from districts that this conflict is minor at Grade 10. We would ask your cooperation in individually addressing events such as these on a case-by-case basis as best fits your needs.


5.   Posted Materials—A student’s ability to meet standard on the WASL should depend on what they know and are able to do and should not be influenced by their testing environment. It is important to have a level playing field where no group of students has an advantage due to the testing environment. Materials that may provide an information source for responses on WASL test items should not remain exposed in classrooms. Any materials that may provide an advantage must be removed or covered during test administration. Please remove or cover any materials in the classroom that may help students answer items that are on the test, including materials such as multiplication fact charts or tables, posters showing problem-solving steps, science investigation steps, or mathematics/reading/science vocabulary lists.


      There is an exception for the writing assessment. Posters containing writing checklists and process steps, as included in the student WASL booklet and the 6-Trait writing process, are permitted. Please refer to the WASL Assessment Coordinator’s Manual for additional information regarding testing protocol.


6.   Viewing WASL Tests—State laws RCW 42.17.310 and 28A.635.040 limit access to tests and supportive materials and are designed to protect the integrity of the test. In the past, parents of students being tested had the opportunity to view an unused test booklet during the WASL window because the nature of the test was somewhat unknown. However, the release of test items over the past three years now provides parents with a good understanding of the format and content of the WASL. Released items from the past three WASL administrations can be found at These released items can be freely shared with teachers, students, and parents. Operational WASL test booklets must not be reviewed by staff or parents. If concerns are raised about this policy, please notify Paul Dugger at the email address or one of the telephone numbers shown at the end of this bulletin.


7.   Limited English Proficiency (LEP) students—As a result of recently revised federal policy, there is now some flexibility related to administering the WASL to LEP students during the spring 2004 testing window. LEP students who have been enrolled less than 180 days cumulatively in a United States public school by April 19, 2004, are not required to take the WASL in any content area (i.e., reading, writing, mathematics, and science). The federal guidance does not require these LEP students to take a test that requires reading English. LEP students may take the WASL on a voluntary basis, but their scores will not be included in school or districts results.


      It will be necessary to have the WASL student test booklets properly coded for all of these identified LEP students. This is to be done by marking 1A in Box 17 in the STATE USE grid on the demographic page of each booklet. To correct mismarkings, erase 1A in Box 17 and mark 1B. The NCS SchoolHouse online record change system will be updated in August 2004 and will allow for changes to be made for these LEP students.


      All LEP students are required to take the Washington Language Proficiency Test, including those who have been enrolled in a United States school for less than 180 days. In addition, districts and schools are encouraged to continue using classroom based or other assessment measures to understand the nature of the students’ knowledge and skills in each of the content areas.


8.   Home-based, Private School, and Foreign Exchange Students, and Alternative Learning Experience Students—Do not include foreign exchange students or home-based students in P105-A reports. Home-based students, including those receiving ancillary services, and private school students are not required to take the WASL. They may, however, participate in the testing at the request of their parents. To ensure that these students are not included in any aggregate reporting, it is important to follow the instructions for marking Box 10 on the demographic pages of their test booklets as shown in the Assessment Coordinator’s Manual. Although the scores for these students will not be included in any aggregate reporting, they will receive individual student reports. The individual student reports will be sent to the districts where the students were tested.


      In recent years, a number of school districts have designed and implemented alternative learning experience programs, as described in WAC 392-121-182. Students participating in these programs are considered full-time public school students. As such, they are subject to the state requirements applicable to all other public school students, including participation in the WASL. They should not have a declaration of intent to receive home-based instruction on file.


9.   504 WASL Exemptions—In compliance with recent ESEA guidelines, students with 504 Plans may be exempted due to a severe condition. Section 504 Exemption Forms must be requested from and approved by OSPI prior to testing.


If you have any questions regarding this information or other issues related to the state testing program, please contact Dr. Paul Dugger, State Test Coordinator, at, 360.725.6348, or TTY 360.664.3631.


This information is also available at on the agency Web site.




Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel

Deputy State Superintendent


Greg Hall

Assistant Superintendent

Assessment and Research



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