Student Videos Air Exit Exam Opposition

K-12 Testing

Though they lack the resources of those working to promote Washington State's high school exit exam, students at the Rainier Beach High School have a different kind of motivation. As the first class that will have to pass the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) to graduate, they are determined to broadcast their view that the WASL is a bad idea for education.


As part of a media literacy unit in an honors humanities class, the freshmen produced eight public service announcements with the message that their futures should not hinge on the result of one test. One video shows students holding up signs to the camera with such slogans as, "I thought we were the future" and "What about students' lives?" Having taken the WASL twice, in 4th and 7th grade, they have experience behind their views, which are shared by their teacher, Paula Scott.


The students organized an early June press conference to present their public service announcements and answer reporters' questions such as, "Couldn't the WASL help motivate students to study harder?" The event was an authentic assessment of their ability to articulate and defend their views in the face of a skeptical audience, the kind that demonstrates qualities beyond the scope of standardized exams like the WASL.