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It’s spring — grab your No. 2 pencil

The flowers are blooming and the standardized tests are looming. Students in the Central Kitsap School District will be tearing through the No. 2 pencils in the upcoming months as students at all grade levels will be taking standardized tests, Dr. Linda Elman, Director of Research & Evaluation for the school district said during Wednesday night’s regular meeting.

From January through May, the students will take the Washington Assessment of Education Progress, the Washington Language Proficiency Test, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills, the Iowa Cognitive Abilities Test and the Washington Assessment of Student Learning.

The testing season wraps up in May when the high schoolers take the Advanced Placement tests.

The main emphasis of Elman’s presentation was on the WASL test because that is the tool used to assess adequate yearly progress for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, commonly referred to as No Child Left Behind.

In addition to being the benchmark for No Child Left Behind, it is a requirement for high school graduation to pass the 10th-grade WASL.

Before students take the WASL, the teachers let the students know what the expectations are for the test and offer advice. The advice includes that students should at least attempt to answer all the questions — partial credit is used in the scoring — and that students should take the questions at face value.

One of the major issues surrounding the WASL is the security of the tests, she said.

Each school principal has to sign for the tests and sign a document that states the proper protocol is used when the test is conducted. One issue new this year is that, to “eliminate anything that would challenge the validity of the test,” students have to give up their cell phones and digital cameras before the test to assure the students are not taking pictures of the test, Elman said.

In addition to the standardized test presentation, the district also heard a facilities update from Richard Best, director of construction, facilities and maintenance.

The district is currently looking for an architect and engineer to design a replacement for Seabeck Elementary School. The 2004-05 capital projects budget has $375,000 set aside for the design of Seabeck Elementary.

Whether or not the school will be built, however, is not yet determined. The district is asking the voters to approve a capital projects levy on May 17 that would raise approximately $16.5 through 2011. The district would combine those funds with state matching funds and federal dollars it receives for having military families in the schools.

If the levy does not pass, the district will have to prioritize its needs, district spokesperson Laurie Cizon said.

Only the projects deemed necessary to keep the schools safe and get the buildings up to code will be done, she said.

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