State and District News

K-12 Testing

In its 1999 session, the Nebraska legislature defunded a testing program it had recently authorized. Thus, Nebraska has no statewide exams, but it requires each district to select a norm-referenced test for use in three grades and to develop its own criterion-referenced exams.


About one quarter of Seattle’s 10th grade students did not take the reading portion of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) test, and nearly one fifth did not take the math and listening portions. Statewide, absenteeism was about 10 percent. Students who do not take the test are counted as not meeting standards, thereby lowering their school’s score. In the future, schools will be rewarded or punished for their scores.


School officials maintain that students did not take the tests seriously since there are no consequences for them. To encourage potential high-scorers to take the test, some administrators are considering actions such as denying enrollment in Advanced Placement courses to students who do not pass the WASL.