Demographics Seem to Affect WASL Scores - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Demographics Seem to Affect WASL Scores

KENNEWICK, Wash.- The Washington Assessment of Student Learning is the same test statewide, but different schools face different challenges preparing students for a test that can ultimately decide their future in education.

Education challenges may include a student moving too many times, family poverty or not speaking English.

Every March, thousands of Washington children take WASL, and they're all held to the same standards, but some say demographic differences play greatly into these scores.

Family poverty and too many transfers are just a couple of the reasons cited for the lower scores by Lori McCord, Principal of Amistad Elementary in Kennewick.

For example, more than 90% of the students at Whittier Elementary in Pasco are on free-or-reduced lunches, and 65% are just learning English, a factor educators say contributes to their lower scores.

Pasco's Associate Superintendent, Dr. Dennis Maguire, said the language barrier often affects younger students more because they are just starting to learn the language.

Even with the controversies surrounding the test, state leaders still back it, but they admit that there's something wrong when kids aren't passing.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Terry Bergeson said curriculum changes may be needed to better scores.

Even so, McCord said teachers need to continue working hard and not make excuses.

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