Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work today, unless you work at main Microsoft campus, in which case, wait until summer


Today is the fourth thursday of April, which is national Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day. The main Microsoft campus is not participating today, but there's a good reason for this.

The Washington State Assessment of Student Learning, better known as the WASL (pronounced "WAH-s'l"), is a four-day battery of standardized tests administered to all elementary school and high school students starting from grade 3. You can download sample tests and answer keys for the reading and mathematics sections of the test to see whether you would have passed high school had you gone to school in Washington. (Sample questions for other grades are also available, including calibration samples for the writing test.)

The problem is that the WASL is administered... at the end of April. Elementary schools have some discretion in choosing exactly which days they administer the test, and if they happen to choose a date that conflicts with Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, then children in that school district are unable to participate in the event. Microsoft employees indicated that they would prefer to have the event in the summer to avoid the schedule conflict.

Comments (14)
  1. Joytotheworld says:

    Middle and high schools have absolutely no choice in when they give the test, so there is extra reason not to honor this today.  Any kid who misses class will have to take the test during make-ups, if you’re sick/absent during make-ups you’re just SOL.  

  2. noone in particular says:

    Isn’t that more of a reson to go and beat the officials in the scool board who fixed the WASL date?

    I mean, the TODASTW (Kids day) is the fourth thursday in April. Ever. For years now. Internationally. Planetwide.

    So its the school board responsibility to shift the tests to fir in both. Or am I missing (in my low-detail-view of matters) anything?

    [You assume that of the millions of parents affected by the WASL rules, none of them have attempted to beat the officials responsible. You must not be from around here. -Raymond]
  3. divil5000@hotmail.com says:

    noone in particular,

    Using words like "internationally" and "planetwide" might fool some people into thinking this goes beyond America. I don’t think it does.

  4. Adrian says:

    I didn’t realize that Take Our Daughters to Work Day had officially been transformed to being co-ed.  I knew some companies encouraged both girls and boys to join in, but I didn’t realize that was universal now.

  5. Jesse says:

    Wow… the WASL is such a waste of time.  I never quite understood why people think that more standardized tests == better education.  I was in the first class who had to take the WASL, and it was a waste of a whole week of school.

    Of course, nobody took it seriously and we all made a conscious effort to fill in all the squares in the areas marked "Do not write in this area"

  6. Mike says:

    "I mean, the TODASTW (Kids day) is the fourth thursday in April. Ever. For years now. Internationally. Planetwide."

    Never heard of it (UK). Just made use of the "Google is your friend" philosophy, and apparently it IS done in the UK, but in my last 15 years working I’ve *never* seen it happen in practice. And I have kids.

    Besides, according to Google hits, this is organised by the Girl Guides. Do the school boards really have to organise things around the GG calendar???

  7. Charles says:

    "I never quite understood why people think that more standardized tests == better education."

    You can thank the No Child Left Behind Act, but that opens an entire new can of dramatic worms.

  8. Cooney says:

    [You assume that of the millions of parents affected by the WASL rules, none of them have attempted to beat the officials responsible. You must not be from around here. -Raymond]

    From what little experience I have with school admins, beatings are always a good idea.

  9. Lucas says:

    I took a look at the math sample exam for curiosity sake and found it a bit basic.

    Is it really the level of math high school students in the US achieve before entering the University?

    I’m guessing it’s just a bare basics assessment test, which doesn’t really show the true level of pre-university math students, but makes me wonder.

    [These are high school graduation tests (the bare minimum necessary to graduate), not college entrance tests. I thought I mentioned this in the article. -Raymond]
  10. James says:

    Jesse, I don’t think standardized tests are designed to help your education, just measure it for accountabililty purposes.

    When I was in high school in California, they stuck a $1000 carrot at the end of the standardized test (among other carrots for other tests) if you were in the top 25% or something. From memory, I seem to recall news stories about test scores improving, though that didn’t help prevent Gray Davis from getting "terminated" by the fake energy crisis.

  11. nikolay says:

    although the superintendent’s letter alludes to the question about how long the tests take (the time given to students to complete each section of each test), i could not locate this information anywhere in the sample test documents?

    any ideas?

  12. Tom M says:

    Interesting. One of my colleagues brought his daughter in to work yesterday, but I didn’t register the link until now. Of course, it might have been a coincidence.

  13. noone in particular says:

    @divil

    At least here in Germany (and in France, by hearsay), we have a moral equivalent of the "Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day."

    Many companys have a real program for the kids, ‘showing off’ what they do and what positions are needed in the company.

    Idiotically, the German event is officially called with the english word "Girlsday", as the focus is on bringing girls in contact with technics and science.

    But in the last years, the German word "Zukunftstag" (en. Futureday) seems to gain use.

    The boys are more ethusiastic when not being herded to a "Girls day"…

  14. Lucas says:

    @Raymond

    Yes, I understood that they were high school graduation exams, but they seemed a bit basic even so.

    On the other hand, if they are given to every high school student, whatever their academic options (at least here one can choose between more or less math in the last high school years), most probably they are the exact level needed.

Comments are closed.