Letter: WA Businessman Knows Value of High-Quality Assessments

chris.barron News

In a letter to the editor in the Bellevue Reporter titled, “Student assessments ensure students gain needed skills,” Bellevue, WA businessman Peter Raulerson writes about the need to challenge students with rigorous learning standards and high-quality assessments, like Smarter Balanced.

Washington state’s economy is creating jobs — 700,000 during the next five years — but employers are forced to bring in talent from other states and nations to fill those jobs. A majority of the new jobs are in high-tech and healthcare, which require college degrees. Raulerson writes about that in his letter:

One of the strongest trends I’ve witnessed in business over the past decade-plus has been the increased emphasis on critical thinking and creative problem-solving at all levels of an organization.

My company, along with employers across the state, need workers who can adapt, communicate and work well in teams — skills necessary to thrive in the 21st-century marketplace.

Washington will need strong workers to fill more than 700,000 job openings in our state in the next five years. Rigorous learning standards will help get us there.

Washington’s K-12 learning standards lay out what students should know and be able to do, including critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Smarter Balanced assessments, which many students in Bellevue are taking this spring, measure students’ progress toward meeting these standards. The assessments also help identify achievement gaps, allowing districts and the state to better allocate resources.

The importance of rigorous standards and content can’t be overstated. Today’s students will enter Washington’s workforce in just a few short years.

They need skills for college and career success, and to live productive, prosperous lives. Standards and aligned assessments help ensure students get those skills and graduate prepared to pursue the post-secondary pathway of their choice.

Peter Raulerson