Monday, March 13, 2006

Super-Exclusive WASL Interview!

Regular readers of this blog may have the impression that Skor has no hope for the "generation" of humans currently making their way through high school. Indeed there are many reasons to despair at today's high school students. In case you hadn't noticed, a good number of these students (all Washington State tenth graders, in fact) are taking the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) this week. Here are a few snippets from this week's coverage of the WASL:
KING 5 News
It's day one of the WASL, but parent Alton McDonald is already convinced his son's test scores won’t be good.

"My child is behind being African American, he is further behind, undereducated as compared to a suburban wealthy community," said McDonald.

Seattle Times
WASL waffles... yeah, I don't get it either.Tenth grader Robyn Dicks enjoys "WASL waffles" after taking the big test.
(Photo 3 of 10 in their "WASL testing begins today" slideshow)

Seattle P-I
"If you look at the 10th-grade test, it measures reading, writing and math achievement and the math, by international standards, is what students around the world are expected to learn in eighth grade," Frazer said. "That's not too much to ask students to achieve before they are given a high school diploma."

But Juanita Doyon, a past candidate for state superintendent of public instruction and leading WASL critic, wasn't appeased by the legislation.

"It still requires students to fail the WASL twice before they get alternatives," said Doyon, head of Mothers Against WASL. "You are demeaning students."

Doyon said her group is organizing a WASL protest march Monday in Olympia.
Wow. And I thought I had a pretty low level of faith in today's students. So just how bad is the situation in our schools, and is the WASL a force for evil or good? What better place to go for the answers to these questions than straight to the source? I had the privilege to speak with a definitely real and not fictitious high school sophomore today regarding the WASL. In part one of what I hope will be a three or four part interview series, Mr. Sophomore shared his impressions of the test after day one.

So how difficult is the WASL, really? Is it worth protesting? How brilliant must one be to pass? What does the WASL have to do with waffles? Some of these questions—and more!—are probably answered in the full interview below, which has been edited only for grammar and spelling.

View/Hide the full interview.
(17:20:57) Skor: So, how was the WASL, Mr. Sophomore?
(17:25:19) Mr.S: Irritating, yet easy—and satanic.
(17:25:45) Skor: What do you think of the "Mother's against the WASL" and their protest in Olympia today?
(17:25:52) Mr.S: Didn't hear about it.
(17:27:32) Skor: One of them said "Even very brilliant kids can perform poorly on the WASL." What do you think of that assessment?
(17:28:06) Mr.S: Uh, probably pretty true. Like, if they're the type who totally freezes on tests.
(17:28:37) Mr.S: Thankfully, my English teacher writes questions for the WASL, so all of our worksheets in English this year have been WASL style—good preparation.
(17:30:00) Skor: So far, what would you rate it [the WASL] in difficulty on a scale of 1-10, 1 being "easier than breathing" 10 being "Einstein himself would fail this test" and 5 being "an average student who paid attention in class and completed coursework (basically not a slacker) would be able to do reasonably well"?
(17:30:31) Mr.S: So far, 5.
(17:30:45) Skor: Which section(s) have you done so far?
(17:30:58) Mr.S: Reading
(17:33:21) Skor: Do you have anything else you would like to say about the test or [the process of] taking the test or your peer's reactions to the test after Day 1?
(17:34:36) Mr.S: Of the people I have spoken with, so far everyone has found the reading portion easy. We're just sort of annoyed because we don't like tests in general.
(17:34:48) Skor: Of course, who does?
(17:35:24) Skor: And would you say that "the people you have spoken with" represent a group of students with average, above average, or below average intelligence and work ethic?
(17:37:07) Mr.S: A good mix actually. A few of them are the kind of people who come across as lazy, some are average, some smart, and I haven't really talked with any idiots.
(17:37:20) Skor: Okay, cool. Do you know when you will find out your score? Do they even tell you a score, or is it just "pass/fail"?
(17:37:43) Mr.S: June. There is a sort of bar graph which shows a score and whether your score bar in each area hit, missed, or passed the "pass" line.
(17:38:37) Skor: Well that's all I have for right now. Thank you for your time Mr. Sophomore. I look forward to speaking to you in the future on this topic.

Hide the full interview.

Categories: News, Local, Culture


Blogger DaButtminster said...

Now there's a girl who gets teased about her name!

12:15 PM, March 14, 2006  
Anonymous Jen said...

How do you know that is a girl?

8:09 AM, March 15, 2006  

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