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[Susan notes: This teacher packs in a lot of information about tests while putting the focus where it should be--on students.]

Published in Seattle Post Intelligencer

To the editor


Students who boycott the test show courage

Thank you for your Saturday article calling attention to courageous students who are boycotting the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test. I salute them for recognizing that the WASL has no validity and is robbing them of valuable time in their classes. These bright and principled young people will be able to get on with their lives, and further their education.

Unfortunately, once the WASL is made mandatory for a diploma (class of 2008), many students will take the more attractive option of dropping out. Studies have shown that states with high-stakes tests required for graduation have experienced higher dropout rates and higher rates of GED completion. Students might know what's in their interests; dodging a test with no proven reliability so they can move on with their lives and careers. Thus, the WASL may be achieving the opposite of its creators' intentions by making public education irrelevant.

As more families organize to boycott this test, we will see increased pressure to change the law and to allow for "multiple measures," including classroom evidence, to verify that students have acquired the necessary skills to receive a diploma.

Jody Granatir, Teacher, Seattle Public Schools

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