WASL migrates to Web despite slow economy

State School Superintendent Randy Dorn’s plan to move state testing online has come to fruition.

“Changing our assessment system and moving it to online have been major priorities since I took office in January,” Dorn said. “I’m pleased with this plan and am confident our state’s schools, teachers and students will be able to adjust as we phase it in.”

Online testing will begin in spring 2010 for sixth-eighth grade in reading and math and other grades and content areas will be added over the next few years, the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced.

The Washington Assesment of Student Learning will be replaced next school year with the Measurements of Student Progress, for third-eighth grades, and the High School Proficiency Exam, neither of which will be as long to take or administer as the WASL.

In spring 2011, fifth-graders will participate in online testing in reading, math and science; eighth-graders will begin to test in science; and writing will debut online in seventh and 10th grade, with an online practice test beginning in fall 2010. In spring 2012, fourth-graders will move to online testing in reading and math.

Currently, third grade will remain a paper-and-pencil test, but OSPI is conducting feasibility studies for online testing in fourth-grade writing and all subjects in third grade.

The WASL will be given one last time in August when high school students can take reading, math or writing tests for the first time or as a makeup. Students in ninth grade during the 2008-09 school year are not eligible to take the August WASL.

Budget cuts have forced the elimination of voluntary fall online testing, but a diagnostic testing tool for teachers and students will be available beginning fall 2010, mainly because of $4.4 million from the Legislature, according to Dorn.

“We are fortunate to have the support of our state government,” he said.

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