WASL scores show increase

The news is in, and it is good — for the most part.

The Central Kitsap School District received last May’s Washington Assessment of Student Learning test results on Wednesday. Each school’s test scores improved enough over the previous year to make the standard for the federal No Child Left Behind Act. The district as a whole, however, did not make “adequately yearly progress” because the district’s fourth-grade special education students missed the writing mark by one-half of 1 percent.

“While this is clearly a minimal number, it is evidence that we have not yet met our goal of every child succeeding,” said Linda Elman, district director of research and evaluation.

The WASL is administered statewide every year. Fourth-graders are tested in reading, writing and math; fifth-graders are tested in science; seventh-graders are tested in reading, writing and math; eighth-graders are tested in science; and 10th-graders are tested in reading, writing, math and science.

The fourth-graders got a bit of a boost because the state made a modest adjustment to the standards. If the tests were still scored on the same standard, 73.7 percent of fourth-graders would have passed reading, as opposed to this year’s 80.6. In math, 62.9 percent passed would have passed, as opposed to this year’s 65.8 percent. In writing, 54.1 percent would have passed, as opposed to this year’s 64.8.

The WASL scores are used to determine the academic progress of each school to see if the schools are meeting the progressive benchmarks in the NCLB mandate.

If the schools do not make progress, they must present a plan to achieve their goals. If the schools do not make progress for several years, the federal government can send its own experts to revamp the school’s curriculum.

On a high note, the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction noted that Klahowya Secondary School’s seventh-graders made substantial progress.

At Klahowya Secondary, the seventh-graders jumped 16 points in reading over last year, 17 points over last year’s writing tests.

The students at Central Kitsap High School also made substantial improvements over last year.

The school’s 10th-graders improved 3 percent in reading to 78.5 percent of a students making standard, as well as 4 percent in math for a 55.5 passing rate and improved 7.3 percent in science, for a 49.9 percent passing rate.

“We definitely have a dedicated staff that is really focused on academic improvement in this school and that carries over in the teaching for sure,” CKHS Principal John Cervinsky said.

The key in improvement was using I-728 funding wisely, he said. The school uses computer-based algebra and math tutoring, and hires outside readers to read student papers and provide feedback. In addition, the school’s writing curriculum is included in other subjects, like history and science. CKHS does not teach skills specifically for the WASL, he said.

“We teach the essential learning skills,” Cervinsky said. “We don’t have a WASL Wednesday, we just incorporate those skills into the curriculum.”

At Fairview Junior High School, Principal Kathy Wales is ecstatic over her seventh-graders’ eight-point jump in reading.

“That’s pretty awesome,” she said.

“We implemented a new reading class for our students who are struggling a bit in reading (Soar to Success),” Wales said. “I believe it was a good addition to our reading classes and it was reflected in our scores.”

Janell Newman, the district’s Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction, said the district fared well as a whole and she is proud of the gains the students have made.

“We are proud of what the CKSD students can accomplish and we invite parents and other community members to visit our schools and see first-hand the learning that is taking place.”

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