Yakima School District Superintendent Reacts To Proposed WASL Changes - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Yakima School District Superintendent Reacts To Proposed WASL Changes

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YAKIMA--Local superintendents meet today after state superintendent Randy Dorn announces proposed changes to the Washington Assessment of Student Learning or WASL test.  By spring 2010 students will be taking the tests in computer labs like the one at McClure Elementary in Yakima.

Yakima Superintendent Ben Soria has mixed feelings on the WASL.  While he likes the faster results computerizing the test would bring, he wonders how districts like Yakima's will adapt to computerized testing if there aren't enough computers available for all the students.

He likes Dorn's proposal to test at the start and finish of each school year to gauge progress from fall to spring, Soria said it will be tough for students and teachers to change after just getting adjusted to WASL testing.

Soria's biggest concern is that Dorn didn't address the language barrier of many students who don't use English as their primary language.

"If you require, for example, a student to take a test in another language after only one year of being in the country, all it's going to do is reaffirm what we already know," Soria said.  "That he/she doesn't have sufficient language [skills] to be successful."

Soria met with a state assessor this morning who told him the new testing guidelines should be fully in place for the 2012 - 2013 school year.

Soria hopes Yakima and other school districts don't have to go backwards to make progress and that the changes improve testing and learning.  If not, schools throughout Washington will have wasted a lot of money and time for little success.

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