Governor Proposes Changes to WASL Requirements - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Governor Proposes Changes to WASL Requirements

OLYMPIA, Wash.- Changes in standards could be coming after math scores came in below projections.

Washington Governor Christine Gregoire said she will ask the state legislature to postpone the math requirement's on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning until 2011, this after months of staunch opposition to any changes in our state's graduation requirements.

About half of Washington's high school class of 2008 still hasn't passed the math portion of the WASL, and because of it, changes could be coming, a move many local educators feel needs to be made.

"What we need to do is straighten that out and get that cleaned up, and continue to improve our math teaching skills, and I think this gets us in that direction, where before, the test and the benchmarks were absolute and weren't gonna change," said Richland Schools Superintendent Rich Semler.

The class of 2008 is the first that has to pass to graduate, and if the proposal is approved, students who do not pass will instead take alternative math classes.

It is a move that many never expected, especially after the Governor's staunch defense of the test last week, but some thought it was inevitable.

"Math is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed, so whatever it takes to get the kids up to speed on passing that math part of the WASL exam, we're all for it. That's what we're here for is to get the kids ready for graduation from high school with the skills they're gonna need to be prepared for life," said Rich Buel with the Kennewick School District.

Even if the changes are approved, local districts say they won't relax their programs.  They'll continue to push for the highest education they can provide, but still, they feel a second look at the test is the only way to go.

"What we need to look at is where we're going, and how we're getting there, and adjust those assessments and I think what we'll find if some of the folks that are looking at that are right is that we need to make some changes," Semler said.

It is important to note, this is just a proposal.  The legislature still has to approve it when they return to session, then the Governor must sign it into law, and even then, kids still have to pass the reading and writing sections. And even if it does happen, it's only a three year deal, the class of 2011 on would still have to pass.