Carbonado fourth-graders perfect on WASL

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

Carbonado Historical School District's Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) fourth-grade reading test scores are traditionally high, but this is the first year in history the district has scored perfect.

"We have a historically strong reading program," Superintendent Scott Hubbard said. "We've never hit 100 percent, we're usually 70 percent or higher. We're proud of this class."

As a comparison, the average for fourth-grade reading scores in the state was 79.2 percent. Percentages are the number of students who took the test and met the state's standards. In the spring, students in grades four, seven and 10 take the WASL in reading, mathematics and writing. Students in grades five, eight and 10 also take a science WASL.

The assessment is designed to measure how well students are learning the state's academic standards in reading, mathematics, writing and science. The standards were created by a diverse group of Washington educators and citizens in the mid-1990s and reflect the skills and knowledge students need in order to be successful as adults.

The WASL is made up of multiple-choice, short-answer and extended-response questions.

Hubbard credited the teaching staff, parents and the hard-working students for Carbonado fourth-graders' remarkable reading success.

Those same fourth-graders scored 88.9 percent in math and 55.6 percent in writing. Their counterparts state-wide scored 60.6 percent in math and 57.5 percent in writing. Carbonado is seeing changes in its math and writing curriculum pay off.

Writing scores were up from the 30 percent district fourth-graders scored in 2003-04. The 2004-05 fourth-grade math scores rocketed from 20 percent last year.

Hubbard said the district made significant changes in its math program two years ago. The results are a reflection of those changes.

The district also made changes in its writing curriculum last year, which are also showing up in test score results.

With a budget of $5,400 for professional development, Hubbard said the district has to concentrate its effort. This year, the district decided to focus on writing and brought in Karen Bach from the Issaquah School District. Hubbard credited his staff with latching onto the program and all teachers, not just language arts, but math, science, social studies, across the board, he said. utilizing in all subject areas.

Hubbard said the writing program gave the students confidence.

In the last two years, Carbonado seventh graders had averaged 33.3 percent in the writing area of the WASL. The 2004-05 seventh graders scored 76.9 percent. State seventh-graders were at 60.9 percent in writing.

Science was down for Carbonado students comparing themselves to last year's class at both grade levels - 20 percent for fifth graders (the state average was 35.5) and 38.5 percent in eighth-grade (the state average was 36.2).

Hubbard said he hopes the results in all areas will continue to stay high or climb, but with such small numbers at the school, 189 total student population, 18 for example in fourth grade, test results often have ups and downs.

Brenda Sexton can be reached at

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