WA Parents Win Access

K-12 Testing

After eight years of denying parents access to their children’s state exam booklets, Washington education officials have relented. In granting two parents permission, officials from the Washington Education Department acknowledged they had been violating the 1974 federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, which mandates that parents and students over age 18 be allowed to access such records and have the opportunity to make changes.


“This is a victory for parents and students throughout the state and will have national impact as well,” said Juanita Doyon, organizer of Mothers Against WASL. “We have been fighting against test secrecy for over four years. There should be absolutely no secrecy to these tests. All state level assessment content should be made accessible to every parent once the tests are administered. Test security does not supplant parental rights.”


Mothers Against WASL member De Anna Winterrose battled for years to view her children’s test results, and finally examined them in May. “I wish every parent could see it, every teacher could see it,” Winterrose said. “It would add so much to the educational process.”


Winterrose declared she was not impressed with the WASL’s content: “After three hours of reading the test (and yes, there were many times when I had to force myself to go back and re-read, because it was boring) I was left with this distinct impression: The WASL is not a test of knowledge, rather a test of attention. Those of you who are blessed with this gift will do well, those of us who are not will never be able to show our true knowledge, especially if the test continues to be hidden from educators/parents.”


Winterrose and another parent, Nanette Meratinia, were allowed to view the booklets only after signing non-disclosure agreements that barred them from discussing the WASL questions with anyone, even their family members. They were also forbidden from taking notes or making copies and viewed the test in the presence of two state education officials.


Officials said they would develop a policy for enabling access. Doyon has called on all parents to demand to see their children’s tests.