Knives Come Out for the WASL

dorn2.jpgNewly sworn in state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn isn't wasting any time in overhauling the WASL. He's planning a press conference on Wednesday to announce his plans. He gave me an early glimpse of them back in November, as votes were still being counted and it looked like things were going his way.

If his thinking is still the same, expect him to talk about replacing the high-stakes test with one that is shorter (by half), leans heavily toward multiple choice rather than essays and has a new name (since he says the "WASL" has such bad connotations.) He said he did not need the Legislature to pass any new laws on this because the state has left it to the Superintendent to implement an assessment system.

But the Legislature may want to weigh in. Rosemary McCauliffe, chair of the Senate's K-12 education committee, today introduced a bill that would scrap the practice of using the WASL -- or any other assessment -- as a graduation requirement. Interestingly, this is one reform that Dorn does not support, according to our conversation last November. Kids need to show what they know on some test, he said, even if it's not the WASL.

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