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North Kitsap WASL scores improved

"Poulsbo - This year's WASL scores are in, and the results are mostly good for North Kitsap. Scores were up across the board in reading, writing, math, and listening, the four categories students in fourth, seventh, and tenth grades are assessed in. The WASL is a statewide test given to students to judge how well they're meeting the state's education goals. Beginning with the class of 2008, students will have to pass the test to graduate. While there are still improvements to be made, the scores are a sign that the district is moving in the right direction, said Len Campbell, the district's curriculum director. It's very good news, Campbell said. Campbell was especially pleased to see the improvements in the district's fourth-grade scores, where math scores averaged between all the schools increased steadily over the last four years. In 1997, the first year the test was given to fourth graders, 25 percent of students earned a passing grade. That number increased to 39.9 and 48.7 in 1998 and 1999. This year, 52.1 percent passed. What that really shows is our students are continuing to make substantial growth at the fourth grade. We made strong improvements in math and reading, and slight (improvements) in writing, he said. The most positive sign for North Kitsap, Campbell added, was that they met a goal set by the Office of Public Instruction requiring 25 percent of all elementary school students to pass the reading portion of the WASL by next year. The goal was set because the first year's scores were low. The North Kitsap students met that goal this year, Campbell said. All the schools reached the 25 percent number. Some of the highlights from around the district: *Vinland's math scores jumped more than 15 percent, from 45.6 to 62 percent. *Wolfle's reading scores raised more than 28 percent. Forty percent of test-takers passed last year, 68.3 percent this year. *Poulsbo Elementary's writing scores increased by more than 10 percent, going from 41.4 to 51.9 percent. *At North Kitsap High School scores increased significantly in all areas except listening. Listening is an area the district is concerned about, Campbell said. I think we look at reading and math and writing so much, it (listening) tends to be overlooked, Campbell said. Along with listening, there are other areas the schools could improve in, Campbell said. One of them is the scores from Spectrum Community School, where no students who took the test met the standards in math or writing. North Kitsap School District Superintendent Gene Medina said the information gleaned from the WASL tests and student profiles will be used to help Spectrum students improve on the WASL. For the most part, Medina was pleased with the test results. I think the results are fantastic, he said. I think they're extremely impressive in that they demonstrate the real focus on the essential learnings by our staff. Medina said the improved scores also showed that the parents supported the district's attempts to improve at the WASL. What's interesting is that the improvement was across all levels, he said. (Grades) four, seven and ten. To me that's a pretty clear statement that the administration and staff are committed to the success of all the kids. "

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