Will Dorn Really Scrap the WASL?


Now that it’s looking likely that Randy Dorn, the anti-WASL candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction, will oust WASL stalwart Terry Bergeson, one has to wonder what it will really mean if he wins. Doesn’t he need the Legislature to do away with the test it essentially created? Not according to Dorn. That’s because he’s not actually intending to scrap the WASL altogether (although he would change the name, which he says has become like “kryptonite”). Instead, he explained today by phone, he intends to “shorten it up” -- ideally by half, turning it into a one-week rather than two-week ordeal. That makes it an implementation question, which he asserts “is within the purview” of the superintendent’s office.

To do so, he plans to change the test so that it relies much less on writing, which takes time, and more on SAT-like multiple choice questions. He says that will also allow for much of the test to be graded by automation, which will speed things up in terms of getting results back to teachers and students for diagnostic purposes. Results could come back in as soon as two or three weeks, he says, instead of four months, as is the case now.

If the votes continue to go his way -- as of this writing, he was leading by almost a two percent margin -- he says you can look for these changes in the 2010 WASL (or whatever it’ll be called).

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