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WASL scores for North Kitsap staying ahead of state’s pace

POULSBO — When it comes to Washington State’s most important test, North Kitsap remains ahead of the curve.

Results of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning were released last week, and North Kitsap students stayed ahead of the state average for the test, which is administered in fourth, seventh and 10th grades and will be a requirement for graduation for the class of 2008.

The district’s 2003 scores were higher than the state average, with two exceptions: 10th grade listening, which was lower than the state average by .7 percent, and seventh grade reading, which tied the state average of 47.9 percent.

“I think we’re headed in a positive direction. Our scores have been continuously improving,” said Wally Lis, the district’s director of curriculum.

Several schools in North Kitsap made dramatic improvements from last year, including both junior highs.

Poulsbo Junior High upped the percentage of students passing the reading portion by almost 13 percent (35.5 to 48.1) and the percentage of students passing the mathematics portion by more than 19 percent (28.0 to 47.7).

Gains were also made at Kingston Junior High, where the number of students passing the writing portion increased (48.1 to 58.9), as did the number of students passing mathematics (33.6 to 46.0).

“Both junior highs had a tough year last year,” Lis said. “They took the poor year the year before to heart, and they did something about it.”

Several elementary schools also saw gains, including Gordon, Pearson, Suquamish and Vinland.

Other schools saw both gains and losses; for example, at Poulsbo Elementary, the percentage of students passing the math portion dipped slightly, while the writing number jumped dramatically, from 49 percent passing to 78.9 percent passing.

Listening and reading numbers fell slightly at North Kitsap High School, while mathematics increased by 1.3 percent and writing made a more dramatic gain (56.0 to 67.0).

Lis said that slight variations from year to year — even slight losses — are expected, since each grade that takes the test is different.

What’s important, he said, is that the school makes steady gains over a series of years.

That’s something North Kitsap has done, he said.

“It’s improved. It’s getting better. We just need to get better still,” Lis said.

The district has spent much of its resources on the WASL in recent years, including staff training and consultants to help schools work on specific portions of the test.

Some schools have solicited more reading help, and the district has updated its curriculum to keep up with the demands of the test.

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