NKSD encouraged by WASL results

POULSBO — The much awaited and anticipated Washington Assessment of Student Learning exam results from the 2006-07 school year were released Thursday morning by State Supt. of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson. The scores are particularly important because the class of 2008 must pass the writing and reading portions of the WASL exam in order to graduate. Meeting the WASL standard on the math and science assessments is not a graduation requirement until 2013.

North Kitsap School District WASL coordinator Wally Lis said the district’s WASL scores from the 2006-07 school year were similar to the 2005-06 school year results.

“I think we didn’t raise our numbers significantly and our numbers didn’t dip significantly,” he said. “The overall statistics were pretty similar to the year before.”

The NKSD saw improvements in math scores at the elementary level. NKSD third graders’ scores improved as those passing the test increased 2.9 percent at the third grade level, 5.2 percent at the fourth grade level and 2.0 percent at the fifth grade level.

“Continued efforts to update math curricula and provide professional development for teachers contribute to the improvements seen in the scores of most elementary schools,” said NKSD Supt. Gene Medina.

Lis credited NKSD math instructors for the rise in achievement amongst elementary students.

“There are two reasons for the improvement, staff and students,” he said. “Teachers are committed to the math curriculum and students are working hard on it. The attention to deal is paying off.”

According to the NKSD, seventh grade reading scores are the highest they have been in the past 10 years.

Seventy-two percent of seventh grade students passed the reading portion of the WASL during the 2006-07 school year, which marked a 5.6 percent increase from the 2005-06 school year.

The biggest drop occurred at the fourth grade reading level where 85.8 percent of fourth graders met standard in the 2005-06 school year as opposed to only 78.7 percent of fourth graders in the 2006-07 school year resulting in a drop off of 7.1 percent.

“That’s something we’re going to have to take a look at with our staff. It’s a significant enough of a drop and we will pay attention to it,” Lis said. “We’ll have some conversations about it.”

Medina said there’s always room for improvement.

“We’re excited about the gains we’re seeing for so many students, but at the same time we recognize that not all students are where they need to be with their learning,” he said. “Our goal remains success for all, and that’s a challenge we’re eager to meet.”

Lis said he thinks the reconfiguration of the grade levels with the adding of one grade at the high school level and removing of one grade from the elementary schools will have a positive effect on students across the board and in turn improve WASL scores.

“I think the new grade configurations will benefit the district because of the smaller class sizes,” he said. “It gives students more one-on-one attention. In a year or two I expect the WASL scores to continue improving because of the smaller class sizes.”

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