How Do Washington's Graduation Tests Measure Up?

Sunday, July 31, 2005Printer-friendly version

Achieve was asked by the Washington State Academic Achievement and Accountability Commission, Office of the Superintendent for Public Instruction, and the Partnership for Learning to conduct a study of the 10th grade Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). The intent of the study was to compare the content, rigor and passing scores on Washington's tests with those of six other states that participated in Achieve's earlier study Do Graduation Tests Measure Up?

Achieve determined that the state's writing test is exemplary, and its reading test is relatively strong as well. Although its reading passages are not as demanding as those in other states, the test contains challenging questions. The cut score for proficiency sets a standard comparable to other states in Achieve's study. The math test proved to be the least challenging of the three when compared to other states, mainly because the content is less rigorous. The cut score required to pass the test does not appear to set an unreasonable standard for high school graduates.