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CKSD’s raw data on WASL shows positive outlook

Linda Elman is knee-deep in data from the April round of Washington Assessment of Student Learning tests. She is currently going through the some 3,000 individual students’ scores in the Central Kitsap School District to collect raw data.

On Wednesday night, she presented some of her findings to the school board, with the provision that the data is in its rawest form and the official results are expected from the state in September. She said the test scores from the student-level data may differ from those the state will release.

The district has shown an increase in the number of students who have met or exceeded the standard, she said, but the district also had a little bit of help. The state standards in fourth- and seventh-grade math were lowered, she said.

“Even though the increases may not be as dramatic as they appear due to the change, the scores represent real gains in student achievement,” Elman said.

Based on the preliminary information, 80 percent of all fourth-graders met the reading standard while 65 percent of all fourth-graders met the math standard. Those numbers represent a 7 percent increase in reading over the previous year and a 6 percent increase in math over the previous year, Elman said. Writing scores raised a tad to 51 percent.

On the seventh-grade level, there was a 14 percent jump in students meeting the reading standard bringing the percentage to 63; and an 11 percent increase in math, bringing the total to 52 percent. The writing scores were stable at 55 percent.

For 10th-graders, reading increased four points to 74 percent meeting the standard and the math scores were at 49 percent for a gain of 6 percent. Writing scores also maintained steady with the previous year at the 10th-grade level with a 65 percent of students meeting the standard.

Elman said she picks through the data to find pertinent trends. The data is used to determine strong and weak points in the students’ knowledge so the district can tweak the classroom instruction as necessary.

Of particular concern is that the writing scores have, for the most part, flatlined in the medium range, which poses the question of how the writing curriculum could be improved, she said.

“There’s some really good stuff in there, but there’s room to improve,” Elman said. “We want all our kids to be successful.”

Janell Newman, executive director of curriculum and instruction, agreed that the data is good for determining student strengths and weaknesses.

“Central Kitsap School District staff is dedicated to seeing that every student in our schools succeeds and is prepared for life beyond high school,” Newman said. “The WASL is one of several tools for measuring student achievement. Combined with other state and district assessments, these scores will help the district, our schools and our teachers determine how best to guide each child toward successes and life-long learning.”

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