Area school officials happy with test scores

Test results from the state’s Measurements of Student Progress and High School Proficiency Exam are back and in most cases – and in most areas – students in the Carbonado, Enumclaw and White River school districts scored at or above the state average.

This year’s standardized test for grades 3 through 8 and 10 was different in many ways.

It was the first time students saw the MSP and HSPE since state leaders moved away from the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

Many districts opted to take the online version of the test as the state moves closer to its goal to get every district away from the paper-pencil version.

Also, in math, the MSP tested the state’s new math learning standards for the first time.

“It was definitely a year of transition at the state level with the new test and new standards being tested at some levels,” Enumclaw’s Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Terry Parker said. “It makes it difficult in some ways to compare your progress.”

State officials noted that although score comparisons from spring to previous years can be made, the math MSP creates a new benchmark.

Enumclaw leaders were pleased with the district’s progress in math.

“We have a strong foundation in place in mathematics,” Parker said, referring to the district’s recent curriculum adoption. “We saw immediate growth and improvement.”

Enumclaw’s math scores were up in five of seven grade levels with gains at the middle school.

Parker noted the fourth- and fifth-grade standards were more rigorous this time around, and there is still work to do to get all students to standard.

The district will continue its work in mathematics and is recommitting itself to reading fundamentals.

In Carbonado, Superintendent Scott Hubbard was pleased to see his school was the top in the Puget Sound area in eighth-grade math, seventh-grade writing and third- and fifth-grade reading.

“When you think of how we are a small school and have low numbers, I’m pretty proud of that and proud of our staff,” Hubbard said.

Carbonado fifth-grade students scored 95 in reading and seventh-grade students were at almost 91 in writing.

There were a couple hiccups, as Hubbard described them. One was in sixth-grade math, which posted 16 percent. But Hubbard believes that was due more to testing than student knowledge. Those same students scored 57 percent the prior year.

“We know we’re doing some things right and we have some tweaking to do,” Hubbard said, especially in math and science, where the work will continue.

In White River, leaders were also pleased, according to Assessment and Curriculum Director Mike Jacobsen. That was especially true at the elementary level and at high school, where ninth-grade students scored near 83 percent in reading and writing and were up in math and science.

White River’s reading, writing and math scores maintained their level or were higher in most instances.

All in all, Jacobsen said, it’s a large-scale measure to show strength and weakness, and let educators compare progress. It tests students on things they should know and should know how to do.

“Those scores do matter,” Jacobsen said. “They help us make changes in our program.”

Jacobsen said the district will continue its assessment and intervention programs and expansion of its math and science curriculums.

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