Why WASC Should Matter to You


The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visits schools every six years for evaluation. Each visit results in a score of one to six years- an even higher score of “six year clear” is awarded to a school that does not need a return until the next six years. A regular six score means that there is a midterm visit. That score determines the next time the committee comes back to evaluate the school. Granted, the higher the score, the more qualified the school is.

At our school, we were given a six year clear accreditation, meaning that the committee did not have to return at all for evaluation until after six years; meaning no visit in the middle of the time frame. For the 2018-2019 school year, WASC is returning to give another score. This score determines how well student learning and the overall well being of the campus is. Students should be lucky that they are able to attend a six year clear school, meaning it is the highest rank you can achieve.

Students often complain about how their school is terrible. “Our teachers don’t teach us.” “The classes are boring.” You hear it everyday. Students may complain but they do not realize how much effort is put into our education, so we can have a brighter future. Some students whine, yet our school is a six year clear school. It is important that we keep our reputation of a safe school that achieves high.

The school tries its best to be able to perform highly while creating a safe environment. We are the only school in our district with a six year clear. Yorba Linda High School, Valencia High School and El Dorado High School had a six year score but had to have a one day visit in the third year. Our school had no midterm visit.

When UC and CSU schools look at students applying, and they see that a six year clear is a quality school. This signals the students are able to perform well at their school which makes the four year graduation rate go up. It can help you get into colleges compared to a student attending a school that earns a lower score, even a regular six score with a midterm visit.

Think about how it would be to attend a school that received a one. A score of one signals tremendous flaws within the school and the teaching. The definition for a one year accredited school, according to the WASC official term, is that “there is a need for immediate attention and support.” The committee comes back the following year wanting to see improvements, since the school is not up to par with major guidelines.

There are seven main points that WASC bases their scores off of: accomplishment of school purpose and school-wide learner outcomes, high achievement of all students based on schoolwide learner outcomes/curricular standards, use of multiple ways to analyze data about student achievement, program evaluation in relation to schoolwide learner outcomes, standards and research-based ACS WASC criteria and indicators, alignment of findings to a schoolwide action plan, evaluation of ongoing improvement and impact on student learning and total involvement/collaboration of all leaders, board members, teachers, staff, students, parents and others.

A school earning a one has failed at providing in at least one of these core areas. A school earns a six through strong relationships with students and a way of listening  to the students. The school is excelling in meeting these standards. It shows there is initiative and a want for student success. You learn basic skills that are essential for the future in college and post-education. It starts in high school with a solid foundation. Without the help of teachers, staff, campus improvements and resources, the school would fail each time. Obviously something is going right. Would you rather attend a school with no motivation for you or a school that places its focus on the students first?

All students attending the school go to an institution with “compelling evidence that the school needs little, if any, additional support for high-quality student learning and the implementation, monitoring, and accomplishment of the schoolwide action plan,” as said on the WASC evaluation form. Aztecs should be grateful to attend a school with this determination and should not take that for granted.