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Friday, June 2, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Statewide WASL tally to be released later

Seattle Times staff reporter

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) plans to wait until late August or early September to report how many 10th-graders did well enough on this year's Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) to put them one big step closer to earning their high-school diplomas.

Sophomores will get their own WASL scores by June 14, but officials for the state's education agency said Thursday there are too many data issues to quickly calculate how many students statewide passed the three exam sections required to graduate — reading, writing and math. OSPI, however, will release this month how many of the test-takers passed each individual subject.

This year's 10th-graders — the class of 2008 — are the first class required to pass those three subjects on the WASL (or an equivalent) to graduate. Last year, 42 percent of students passed all three.

Joe Willhoft, assistant superintendent for assessment and research, said the agency's priority is to get scores to families so they can decide whether students should enroll in remedial classes this summer and sign up to retake part or all of the WASL in early August. The individual scores, he said, will be accurate and final.

The question is over the statewide results. Willhoft said results for the reading, writing and math sections will give a rough idea of how students fared. But he said OSPI, for a number of reasons, needs more time before it will be confident reporting how many students passed all three.

Willhoft didn't yet know how much those data issues could affect the statewide results. In years past, there has not been a big difference between preliminary and final numbers.

School districts can release their data earlier if they're confident it's accurate, OSPI officials said.

The prospect of a three-month wait between the time 10th-graders receive their scores and the release of the statewide results has raised some concern.

The president of the Washington Education Association, the state's largest teachers union, last month questioned why the public can't get preliminary scores if they are available to districts.

Some parents also are unhappy that they won't be able to view their student's actual 2006 WASL test until September, too late to appeal their scores until after the August retake.

The agency plans to release all the WASL results in late August or early September. This year, students in grades 3-8 took the exam. Science scores for 10th-graders (a subject not yet required for graduation) also will be released then.

Linda Shaw: 206-464-2359 or lshaw@seattletimes.com

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