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Plateau WASL scores follow the state trend

Impressive scores in reading and a boost in writing scores were tempered with average or below average math scores across the Plateau as the Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) test results Friday.

Across the state, math remains a challenge for students, and this year there were unexplained dips in scores, especially the usually strong reading, at the middle-school level.

On the Plateau, all three school districts - Carbonado Historical, Enumclaw and White River - are taking action to bring math to the forefront.

In recent years, science has also taken a larger role in WASL testing and scores, which will become mandatory to graduation for the class of 2010, not up to standard.

All three districts plan to have individual results in parents' hands as soon as OSPI releases them to administrators. State officials have set a deadline of Sept. 22. More detailed information regarding scores will be available at the White River School Board meeting at 6 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, in the district's conference/board room and at the Enumclaw School Board meeting at 7 p.m. Monday in its district board room.

More results and individual school results can be found at www.courierherald.com and go to the WASL link.

Enumclaw

Assistant Superintendent Mike Nelson said systemwide Enumclaw students continue to show strong performances in reading and writing and its 10th-grade students were at all-time highs, continuing a three-year trend at improvement.

“Math is our greatest challenge right now,” Nelson said. “We acknowledge that and we're putting our energy and resources into it.”

In Enumclaw, administrators and staff are taking on the “we did it with reading, we can do it with math” attitude. Several years ago, Enumclaw launched an intensive K-12 literacy campaign. That drive is paying off with reading scores that range from 64.3 percent at the middle school to a district-high 90 percent for fifth-grade students at Black Diamond Elementary School.

“We're excited to accept the challenge of improving the system in mathematics for our kids like we did with literacy in the past,” Enumclaw's district Director of Curriculum and Assessment Terry Parker said.

He said the staff started this summer.

Nelson said looking at what it calls “urgent,” those 10th-grade students who have to pass the reading, math and writing portions of the WASL to graduate, the district showed gains.

“The majority, two out of three, passed for graduation,” Nelson said. He said 50 students took the test again in August. Those results will be released in October and he anticipates the numbers to climb.

Enumclaw WASL results were:

€ third grade - 72.5 percent on reading, 57.7 percent on math;

€ fourth grade - 80.1 percent reading, 48.8 percent math, 53.9 percent writing;

€ fifth grade - 83.1 percent reading, 51.5 percent math, 34.0 percent science;

€ sixth grade - 74.7 percent reading, 39.6 percent math;

€ seventh grade - 64.3 percent reading, 42.0 percent math, 58.6 percent writing;

€ eighth grade - 72.5 percent reading, 46.7 percent math, 45.9 percent science;

€ 10th grade - 88.4 percent reading, 55.2 percent math, 82.9 percent writing, 36.5 percent science.

White River

“We're pleased with third grade scores in reading and math,” White River district Director of Curriculum and Assessment Mike Jacobsen said. He said it reflects the work the staff has done in that area, now it's time to roll up their sleeves and tackle math.

“Where we've put effort and energy in we've seen results,” he said. “Math obviously needs our focus.”

Math has already been a topic in the White River district. Work began last year on a pilot assessment program and curriculum alignment and more is on the way.

Jacobsen said there was concern that White River middle school students showed the same dip in scores, especially reading, that students in those grades showed across the state.

“We're surprised,” he said. “It's surprising given the kind of work we've done”

Jacobsen said early indications are several of those kids were on the cusp, enough that a few points would have pushed reading scores to 76 percent.

White River elementary school math scores were above state average. White River High writing scores were off the charts at 86.3 percent.

“We're very pleased with reading and writing results,” Jacobsen said.

White River WASL results were:

€ third grade - 73.7 percent reading, 69.8 percent math;

€ fourth grade - 85.0 percent reading, 63.4 percent math, 61.6 percent writing;

€ fifth grade - 83.7 percent reading, 55.4 percent math, 31.0 percent science;

€ sixth grade - 58.8 percent reading, 48.3 percent math;

€ seventh grade - 55.6 percent reading, 44.6 percent math, 61.7 percent writing;

€ eighth grade - 67.8 percent reading, 48.7 percent math, 42.1 percent science;

€ 10th grade - 85.5 percent reading, 43.6 percent math, 86.3 percent writing, 25.5 percent science.

At Collins Alternative Programs, which is a combination of five different schools covering grades five through 12 from four different school districts - Enumclaw, White River, Sumner and Orting, WASL results were:

€ fifth grade - 85.7 percent reading, 35.7 percent math, 28.6 percent science;

€ seventh grade - 63.6 percent reading, 27.3 percent math, 13.6 percent writing;

€ eighth grade - 59.6 percent reading, 7.8 percent math, 5.9 percent science;

€ 10th grade - 67.7 percent reading, 23.9 percent math, 64.6 percent writing, 9.1 percent science.

Carbonado

Like other school districts across the Plateau and state, Superintendent Scott Hubbard said the changes that have made reading and writing successful will now be brought to the math program.

Hubbard was stunned to see his district's sixth-grade scores on the standardized tests. He said they are not what he saw in the preliminary release.

“Our sixth-grade preliminary scores showed most of our kids passed four out of six strands, so something's wrong somewhere,” he said.

Carbonado, a kindergarten through eighth-grade district with approximately 186 students, one student can sway test scores. When class sizes average about 12 students, one or two can change the outcome of the test by 6 percent or more.

Hubbard said it's hard to draw conclusions from the data for his school district, but they are moving forward. The student body is also enjoying its new covered playground.

In November, Carbonado students were awarded a $25,000 Apple Achievement Award through the State Board of Education for achieving the greatest gains on the WASL.

Carbonado students demonstrated significant increases in the number of fourth-grade students meeting the standards for mathematics, reading, and writing from academic year 2003-04 to 2004-05. Those test scores increased from 70 percent to 100 percent in reading, 20 percent to 89 percent in math and 30 percent to 56 percent in writing.

The students decided to spend the money on a covered play area, which was completed this summer.

“It's a beautiful facility,” Hubbard said.

Carbonado WASL results for 2006:

€ third grade - 81.0 percent reading, 61.9 percent math;

€ fourth grade - 87.5 percent reading, 62.5 percent math, 68.8 percent writing;

€ fifth grade - 94.4 percent reading, 77.8 percent math, 50 percent science;

€ sixth grade - 22.7 percent reading, 18.2 percent math;

€ seventh grade - 59.1 percent reading, 50.0 percent math, 50 percent writing;

€ eighth grade - 65.4 percent reading, 53.8 percent math, 38.5 percent science.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at bsexton@courierherald.com.

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