Need help to pass the WASL? Get some now

Pop quiz for the high school class of 2008:

What percentage of your classmates successfully passed the math section of the WASL in seventh grade? (Please use a No. 2 pencil.)

A. 82 percent

B. 54 percent

C. 37 percent

D. Are you kidding? I’m not taking a test – this is my summer break!

The correct answer, sadly, is C. That leaves 63 percent of your classmates who badly need to brush up on their math skills in order to pass that section of the 10th-grade WASL and graduate. You’ll all have to pass the reading and writing sections, too. Your class is the first to face this new requirement.

As you bask in the sunshine of your summer break, classrooms and tests are probably the last thing on your mind. But the WASL is just seven months away – a deadline that may be coming fast for some sophomores.

Some of you, certainly including the 52 percent who failed the reading portion of the WASL three years ago, are concerned about the implications of the test. A few of you, led by the vocal dissent of your parents, have expressed outrage at the prospect of such a consequential exam.

If you’re concerned about not passing, it’s time to do something about it.

Many opportunities are available to help you prepare. The Lake Stevens and Lakewood school districts had the foresight to offer preparatory classes over the summer – courses that will likely expand into more districts during the academic year. Some of your peers are already taking advantage of these opportunities. Before the exam is issued in the spring, you’d be wise to take a WASL prep class outside of your school’s regular curriculum.

There are other ways to prepare, too. Reading and writing certainly aren’t constrained to classroom environments. Even snatching up the latest Harry Potter book for a summer read will help. Struggling on the math section? Try working through a math coursebook.

Comprehensive WASL self-study books are available for less than $20, making study materials easy to access. During the school year, after-school study sessions are commonplace and teachers are available for extra help. Attentiveness in the classroom, homework and a desire to learn will also go a long way to winning the WASL challenge.

Either way, your success on the WASL is entirely dependent on how well you prepare. With opportunities to improve your abilities, there will be no excuses come March.

The pressure is on, and everyone is watching.

The thing is, you have to watch out for yourself.

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