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[Susan notes: Juanita Doyon, Director of the Parent Empowerment Network, is a longtime leader in fighting WASL. She makes a very good point about distracting student's whose diplomas depend on their performance with throwaway passages.]

Published in News Tribune

To the editor

Re: “WASL gives students a feeling of déjà vu” (TNT, 3-18).

Here we go again with another WASL debacle. This time, a reading passage (now claimed to be a “pilot” item) is one that has been seen by students on previous standardized tests.

On what sound psychometric grounds did the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) base its decision to subject some 10th-graders taking this very high-stakes test to a pilot question that was not an actual scored item?

For those students who struggle and who are most apt to fail the WASL, this throwaway question might be a breaking point. In Virginia last year, several students missed their graduation because Pearson Education Measurement (the same testing company that scores WASL) misscored tests by two points.

A distracting, throwaway question could well cause students to perform two points under what they would have had they not wasted their mental energy on a question that is nothing more than a ruse.

State assessment officials and WASL developers apparently possess no perception of fairness and honesty, much less sound testing policy. WASL is a biased game in which our children are always the losers. It is time for OSPI to quit playing the game of WASL with the lives of our children.

Juanita Doyon

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