Document Type

Graduate Project

Date of Degree Completion

Summer 2004

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



Committee Chair

Lee A. Plourde

Second Committee Member

Don B. Woodcock

Third Committee Member

Steven A. Schmitz


With a statewide pilot of the 5th grade science Washington Assessment of Student Leaming (WASL) in the spring of 2003, all elementary schools were tiying to prepare their students to meet the standards. At this time, the only resources schools had for preparation was a glimpse of the first criterion-referenced assessment, the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs), Grade level Expectations (GLEs) and a "release booklet" of sample items distributed to 5th grade science teachers. Educators knew that the best curriculum built on the previous year's knowledge which spiraled throughout the curriculum. At this time there were no curriculums designed starting with the first three EALRs in science from the kindergarten level and building up to the 5th grade. Another important factor in successful learning was to break down common terminology. All staff must commit to using a consistent science vocabulary with their students which was aligned with the assessment. This would assist the students' understanding and competence with the assessment. Additionally, the assessment format needed to be practiced by the students in order for them to achieve optimum success. In order for elementary schools to make science the "new basic" teachers will require three important criteria. First, teachers must be provided a science curriculum that deliberately emphasized themes in the state assessment of systems, inquiry, and design. With such a resource, lesson plans could be aligned to the EALRs and follow the WASL format. Secondly, teachers needed to utilize a common vocabulary consistent throughout the grade levels and taught across the curriculum including during spelling. Thirdly, K-4 teachers needed an opportunity to see the 5th grade scenarios, so they could create unit assessments which closely mirror the science W ASL at 5th grade level.