Resolution from the Seattle Education Association—Adopted April 18, 2005


Whereas, Dr. Don Orlich, professor emeritus at Washington State University, has published over 100 professional papers and authored or co-authored over 30 monographs and books including Teaching Strategies:  A Guide to Effective Teaching and specializes in curriculum and instruction with expertise in science education, and


Whereas, Dr. Orlich has found that “the 5th grade science WASL exceeds the intellectual level of the vast majority of grade 5 children and appears to be an 8th grade examination,” and


Whereas, Professor Orlich has uncovered that “the 7th grade math WASL is in all reality a 9th grade test,” and


Whereas, Professor Orlich revealed that “the Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) for Grade 5 science are developmentally inappropriate,” and


Whereas, in reviewing the GLEs for grade 7 and 10, Dr. Orlich revealed parallel entries.  “That is, the grade 7 GLEs are almost identical, in many cases, to those of grade 10,” and


Whereas, his findings confirm the opinions of teachers and WASL test results demonstrated by students,


Therefore, be it resolved that we, the membership of the Seattle Education Association, call upon the Washington State Legislature to commission an independent research organization to verify or refute Professor Orlich’s findings.  This organization must be completely disinterested and free of any financial contracts or consultancies with OSPI since 1993.  Results of these findings must to be available to teachers.






Resolution adopted by Seattle Education Association Board Monday, Dec. 1, 2003.


Whereas, the following warning appears in the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction's own technical reports on the WASL:


"While school and district scores may be useful in curriculum and instructional planning, it is important to exercise extreme caution when interpreting individual reports.  The items included on WASL tests are samples from a larger domain.  Scores from one test given on a single occasion should never be used to make important decisions about students' placement, the type of instruction they receive, or retention in a given grade level in school.  It is important to corroborate individual scores on WASL tests with classroom-based and other local evidence of student learning (e.g., scores from district testing programs).  When making decisions about individuals, multiple sources of information should be used and multiple individuals who are familiar with the student's progress and achievement (including parents, teachers, school counselors, school psychologists, specialist teachers, and possibly even the students themselves) should be brought together to make such decisions collaboratively."


Therefore, be it resolved that we, the Seattle Education Association Board of Directors, condemn the planned use of the WASL as a barrier to graduation and call on legislators, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the Washington State Education Board and the Seattle School District to adhere to ethical testing policies as stated in this warning.  The Seattle Education Association Board maintains a strong commitment to high academic standards and closing the achievement gap using just and ethical educational practices.