WASL Being Replaced By New and Improved System

YAKIMA, Wash.- Monday was the beginning of the last WASL season. Starting next school year, the controversial Washington Assessment of Student Learning exam is being replaced by a new system.

The WASL has been around since the early 1990's, testing students for math, science, reading and writing.

"It has had a very long run but a lot things happen in 12 years, things change," said Greg Day from the Yakima School District.

This is why starting next spring a new system will be put into place. It is called the Washington Comprehensive Assessment Program. It is different from the WASL because it's split into two different exams.

The WASL had one format that was followed by third through 12th graders.

District employees say this was confusing and stressful for many of their students.

"The testing at the high school level has high stakes and that kind of translated into the elementary and middle schools and I think that caused maybe more anxiety than we really need at those grade levels," said Day.

The new exam will focus on the progress of elementary students and the proficiency of high-school students.

The new exam will also be available online, saving districts thousands of dollars.  

"More efficiency, more focus and right now that is good, especially with how the state is in the current economy," said Day.

It will also take less time to take this new exam. Employees from the state department of instruction say the results will be released within the same year.

"So families and teacher can immediately assesses how to help that student if the student need help," said John Barron.  

The curriculum is expected to stay the same and continue to test an individual's academic level. The Yakima School District will start next year's exam on the paper formats but expect to switch over to the online format over the next few years.

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