On Wednesday February 18th, the Wyoming State Senate Education Committee approved a bill previously passed by the Wyoming House that would eliminate the requirement for a statewidewriting and language assessment, the Student Assessment of Writing Skills (SAWS),which is taken annually in the 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades.
The bill’s sponsor, Mary Throne (D) of Cheyenne, indicated that she sees the writing assessment as flawed and unworkable and she hopes that the days previously lost to this assessment could be used by teachers to allow students to practice writing(http://trib.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/committee-recommends-nixing-writing-test-for-wyoming-students/article_448956f0-0038-502f-80ad-ce3751bdbff3.html).
As quoted in the Casper Star-Tribune, Representative Mary Throne said, “I firmly believe you learn how to write by writing.” This perspective echoes that of the National Council of Teachers of English guideline document, “NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing”http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/writingbeliefs: ” As is the case with many other things people do, getting better at writing requires doing it — a lot. This means actual writing, not merely listening to lectures about writing, doing grammar drills, or discussing readings. The more people write, the easier it gets and the more they are motivated to do it.”
The bill (HB 159) will now go to the floor of the Wyoming Senate for debate. It must pass three votes on the Senate floor before it will go to the governor for his signature or veto.