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[Susan notes: Juanita is the dynamic director or the Parent Empowerment Network in Washington.

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Published in News Tribune

To the editor

Re: “Bergeson knows math scores don’t add up” (Patrick O’Callahan column, 2-18).

For the first time in a decade, I agree with something Terry Bergeson said in the press. Yes, Bergeson “should be held accountable,” but that accountability must be put in full WASL context.

Bergeson has made a laudable attempt to blame math WASL on everyone but herself. Truth be known, her co-opting of district curriculum directors brought WASL-math to our schools. Teachers have been specifically directed not to teach foundational math skills to their primary grade students because WASL does not test foundational skills. It is sheer lunacy to trust the same person who brought us WASL math and swore by it until she saw the light (from the governor’s mansion) to now develop statewide math curriculum.

If News Tribune editors believe that WASL reading scores “add up,” they should check out test difficulty levels and changes in pass rate calculations. Most importantly, the 85 percent pass rate Bergeson touts for 2006 is actually about a 75 percent pass rate, if figured in the same manner as 2005 scores. Comparing computation methods (reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us) reveals that 5,167 students were simply left out of the equation in 2006. In addition, putting released 10th-grade reading passages through a simple check yields readability levels from sixth to eighth grade.

Bergeson may be preaching changes, but she’s practicing WASL standards: She doesn’t have to get the correct answer as long as she explains it well. It’s time to hold the state superintendent accountable for the entire WASL debacle.

Juanita Doyon

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