From: Final Report of the Certificate of Mastery

Study Committee, Presented to the State Board of Education



Nick Brossoit, Christie Perkins, Patty Raichle,

Laura Jo Severson, Andy Wheeler, Ron Woldeit


While certain inferences from a test may be validly drawn for some groups of students but not for others, any test that is being used for high stakes decisions for all students must be proven to make valid inferences for all students.


There are different kinds of validity, and adequacy must be demonstrated separately for each kind. Testing experts agree that tests must be valid for each purpose for which they are used. If a test is being used to determine mastery of math, can we validly assume that a student who passes the test knows math, knows the kinds of math expected to be mastered, and has mastered that math at the expected level of performance? If the test is being used to determine whether a student should graduate from high school, can we validly assume that a student who passes the test knows the right information at the right level of performance for success after high school?


Content validity research conducted by OSPI has determined that the 10th grade WASL generally matches the 10th grade EALRs. However, this determination is challenged by outside research. The Fall 2002 report from the Stanford Research Institute raises questions about the match of the Math test items to the 10th grade math EALRs, test coverage of all 10th grade Math EALRs, and appropriate levels of difficulty. These issues point out serious concerns about the content validity of the 10th grade Math WASL. Corrections and follow-up research need to occur before the State Board can determine the content validity of the Math WASL. Obviously, similar research needs to be conducted on the other three WASL-tested areas.