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Washington state makes standardized testing swap

WASL replacement debuts this week

High school students will get the first crack at the state’s new assessment test starting Tuesday.

The High School Proficiency Exam is the state’s replacement of the controversial Washington Assessment of Student Learning, commonly known as the WASL. It is designed to test the same skills in less time.

“I delivered on my promise to make changes to our state test,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said.

Third- through eighth-graders will take the Measurements of Student Progress between May 3 and June 4.

High school students’ first exam is in reading. It has been shortened from three hours to one hour and 20 minutes, school officials said.

To accomplish a shorter testing time, the extended answers have been eliminated, and there are more multiple choice and short-answer questions, said Razak Garoui, assessment and program evaluation director.

The math and science exams are scheduled for April 13 and 15. The testing time for those will also be one hour and 20 minutes.

The writing exam did not change and will still take two days, Garoui said.

Passing the reading and writing is required for graduation, but math and science are not, Garoui said.

Meanwhile, educators are glad the testing time has been shortened but await the outcome of the results.

Shirley Andrews, an assistant principal at Central Valley High School, said three instructional days have been retrieved. “That’s a good thing. We won’t know how informative the test will be until we see the results, so it’s hard to tell if the test will give us valid information to inform instruction. We’ll have to wait and see.”

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