SKSD and the WASL: Math Results “Discouraging”

Despite gains in some areas, the recent release of scores for the Washington Assessment of Student Learning shows South Kitsap still has a long way to go to bring all of its students body up to standard.

Dan Whitford, the district’s director of instructional services, was encouraged by some results, such as the increase in the number of seventh grade students meeting state standards in reading — nearly six percentage points higher than last year. There were also promising gains in math scores — typically a troublesome area — for third and seventh graders — up 7.5 and 8.7 percentage points respectively compared with 2005-06 results. But those scores were offset by lower math scores in all other grades. Especially worrisome to district officials was a significant drop of 5.5 percentage points in 10th-graders meeting standard, said Dan Whitford, director of instructional services. This year’s results show only 43.3 percent achieving that goal. Whitford called the results “discouraging.”

You can read the complete story on local WASL scores here, and in Saturday’s Kitsap Sun, you’ll find a complete listing of scores for each district.

We also ran a wire story on how this year’s graduating class is “stepping up to the plate” as the first class required to pass the reading and writing WASL and meet other state requirements.

Last week, we ran an overview of how local districts are measuring up to the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

I’ve pasted SKSD’s WASL overview below.


Reading: District officials were pleased with a significant gain — nearly 6 percentage points — in the number of seventh-grade students meeting the state’s standards in math this year. Third-graders and sixth-graders also showed encouraging gains in reading, with increases of 3 and 2.2 percentage points respectively. Fifth-grade scores dropped 10 percentage points, however, with only 70.2 percent of students meeting the standard this year, as compared with 80.5 percent last year.

Writing: Fourth-grade writing scores dropped 2.7 percentage points compared with last year’s results. This year 51.4 percent of students met the standard. Seventh- and 10th-grade scores, however, showed a healthy improvement. The percentage of seventh-graders meeting standard rose from 60.5 percent last year to 65.3 percent this year; the 10th-grade percentage rose from 83.3 to 87.6 percent.

Math: Promising gains in math scores for third and seventh graders — up 7.5 and 8.7 percentage points respectively compared with 2005-06 results — were offset by lower scores in all other grades. Especially worrisome to district officials was a significant drop of 5.5 percentage points in 10th-graders meeting standard, said Dan Whitford, director of instructional services. This year’s results show only 43.3 percent achieving that goal.

Science: The number of students in fifth and eighth grades meeting standard in science dropped slightly from 2005-06 to 2006-07. But 10th grade scores were off an alarming 10 percentage points, plunging from a success rate of 30.3 to 20.9 percent. The district’s science scores are also lower than the state average.

The District’s Take: Whitford said the lost ground, especially in the area of math, was “disappointing.” He attributed the lowered 10th-grade math score in part to the state’s delay of making math a graduation requirement until 2013. As a result, students aren’t taking the test as seriously and that affects the district’s overall score, he said.

Whitford said students also need to start paying more attention to science. Last year, only 1.5 percent of the district’s sophomores did not take the science WASL; this year, more than 20 percent didn’t show up to take the test. The science portion of the test is not required for graduation.

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