NK students attack WASL week with determination

POULSBO — Though the state’s high-security approach to Washington State Assessment of Learning testing this year wouldn’t allow the Herald to talk with North Kitsap High School sophomores to get their reaction to the first week of testing, test coordinators said they witnessed a renewed determination among students.

Last week, NKHS, along with high schools around the state, administered the language arts portions of the WASL exam. This year’s exam bears a newly required weight.

Starting with the class of 2008, students will be required to pass the reading, writing and math portions of the WASL in order to graduate.

NKHS will finish up its testing with the math and science WASL sections April 18, 19, 20 and 21. Students will once again begin testing at 7:40 a.m.

Regular classes will resume along with the beginning of the day for juniors and seniors at 9:40 a.m.

“Juniors and seniors were allowed to arrive two hours late so we could have the halls quiet for test time,” said NKHS WASL coordinator Kari Denton.

“I think kids took it a lot more seriously and even the teachers took it a lot more seriously,” said NKSD WASL coordinator Dixie Husser in reaction to the first WASL week. “I think that the message is out, and our results will show that.”

The scores and outcome of the test won’t be available until the early part of June but Monday, students during the testing process appeared focused, Denton said.

From post test conversations with kids and teacher test proctors, Denton said students seemed to have worked harder than they had in recent memory.

And they did so with good reason.

In addition to the WASL being the newest graduation requirement, this year, re-takes of the test will not be allowed during the school year. In accordance with the high-security handling of the test, students who did not meet a score of three — on a four-point scale — on any portion of the test will not be allowed a re-take until August.

Students who do not meet the standard will be offered a study session course on whichever subject they didn’t pass as well as another assessment at no cost by the district, Husser said.

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