Math, Science WASL delayed

Tenth-grade students in the class of 2008 are breathing a sigh of relief after Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law an extension date that lists the class of 2013 as the first which must meet the math and science requirements of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL).

“We must improve math and science teaching and learning, but we cannot penalize students when the system has failed them,” Gregoire stated in a news release. “This bill extends to 2013 the deadline for students to meet the state math and science standards through the WASL or an approved alternative for high school graduation.”

The class of 2008 is still required to meet the reading and writing standards of the WASL before they graduate. Students who do not meet the math standards will be required to take more math credits.

“Math and science are big issues,” said Linda Elman, CKSD research and evaluation director. “I think it was necessary to postpone the math and science portions (of the WASL).”

Elman added that one of the biggest affects this will have on the school district is the course offerings for math and science classes. Students who do not pass the math portion of the WASL will be required to take challenging math courses until they pass or graduate.

“I don’t want kids to think taking math past their sophomore year is a punishment,” Elman added. “I think there was no question (in delaying the two sections), otherwise we were penalizing kids for something that adults hadn’t accomplished.”

Students who took the math portion of the WASL in 2006 had only 58 percent meet the standard, according to Elman, only 38 percent met the science standard.

“It’s not just a lack of science knowledge,” Elman said. “We want our kids to understand science and the scientific process.”

To currently help students be successful with the math portion of the WASL, Elman said they offer a summer program that focuses on math problem solving.

“We really need to focus on math problem solving skills,” Elman explained. “It’s really a K-12 issue ... not just a 10th-grade issue.”

With time to prepare before students are required to pass both the math and science portions of the WASL, Elman said they will continue to work toward the success of the students.

“We’re working on it because we want our kids to be successful,” Elman said. “Everyone is working for the success of the kids.”

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