How about giving a basic life skills test?

I am a high school student who is in the first graduating class that has to pass the WASL in order to graduate. To me, the WASL should be a good measurement of knowledge basic to everyday life. It is important that a high school graduate is able to write a complete sentence, read a book, balance a checkbook, figure out averages and percentages, and be able to add, subtract, multiply and divide. A high school diploma should be more than just a certificate of completion. It should mean that the graduate is able to do basic functions to survive in society.

In addition to the WASL, we are required to do an argumentative paper, a culminating project and an oral presentation to graduate. The WASL is not the only measurement of ability. If students have to take the WASL, is it really necessary for them to do the culminating project? All of this is so stressful on the students who are just trying to make something of their lives. Too much emphasis is on all of these requirements.

The WASL doesn’t test only basic skills needed to function as an adult in society. It tests algebra, geometry and other higher skills. Why not give students of all backgrounds a chance to pass a test of basic life skills only?

Here is a question for you: Why is this being debated now? Why don’t the lawmakers, educators, counselors, parents, etc. work the kinks out of things before they put them into action? I am required to take the WASL, do the argumentative paper, culminating project and oral presentation to graduate. It will be interesting to see how the future voters of the class of 2008 feel about having the requirements change again after we fulfill these requirements.

Mikaela Pence


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