WASL results show gains on South Whidbey

South Whidbey sophomores will learn how they did on the state assessment test, known as the WASL, this week.

For students who failed to meet test standards, it will mean making plans to attend summer school.

WASL results were announced Thursday. South Whidbey School District officials were pleased with the results in reading and writing. But, like the statewide trend, South End students are struggling with math.

The district, however, increased in the number of students who met WASL standards in both reading and writing compared to the previous year. WASL results for South Whidbey students showed a 14 percent improvement in these subjects.

This year on South Whidbey, 93.6 percent of the students met or exceeded expectations for reading. In writing, 87.1 percent met the standard, and in math, only 70.1 percent met the WASL standard.

Statewide, 85.5 percent of students met standards in reading, 83.5 percent in writing and 53.8 percent in math.

District officials would not immediately release the actual number of students who failed the WASL.

Diane Watson, director of special programs, said the results are indicative of the work being done with students by South Whidbey teachers.

“We are pleased with the reading and writing scores. Obviously, we have work to do in math,” Watson said.

South Whidbey High School principal Mike Johnson attributes the high numbers in reading to the fact that the district’s reading curriculum is closely aligned to state “grade level expectations,” or GLEs.

District principals and counseling staff mailed WASL results to parents and students on Friday.

The stakes are higher than ever before. Sophomores must pass three sections — reading, math and writing — to graduate in 2008.

School officials and the Office of the Superintendent of Instruction have been developing summer school plans and retake schedules for students who failed the test this time around.

The state has devoted $28.5 million for summer school programs and test retakes to help students pass the WASL. South Whidbey is receiving $8,000.

The majority of students who did not pass were from South Whidbey High School.

Counselors from the high school, Bayview and Whidbey Island Academy will be meeting with the students who failed one or more sections of the test.

“We will be developing individualized plans to help students meet expectations,” Johnson said.

“For example, we will be looking at next year’s coursework, and how it can be adjusted for those students who didn’t make expectations. Summer school is also an option. We will be running three modules during summer school; reading, writing and math,” he said.

Summer school is set to run from July 10 through Aug. 4

There will be an opportunity to retake the WASL in early August, following that, the next chance is spring 2007.

This is the earliest that families have received WASL results.

According to OSPI, this year’s sophomores are required to pass the WASL because they are the first class educated from kindergarten through grade 12 with the state’s higher learning standards in reading, writing and math.

Students who achieve passing scores on the 10th-grade reading, writing and mathematics WASL test earn a Certificate of Academic Achievement, one of Washington’s new graduation requirements in place for the class of 2008.

Students must also complete the required course credits, a culminating project and a “high school and beyond” plan to earn a diploma.

The WASL is important to districts because the scores are part of how schools meet federal guidelines under the No Child Left Behind Act. The act requires that every student meet his or her state’s standards by 2014.

Initial statewide results include only about 70,000 of the more than 80,000 who took the test.

Preliminary statewide 10th-grade WASL results were released Thursday.

Of the 71,136 sophomores who took the reading test, 60,873 students met or exceeded the standard. More than half of the students – 43,758 – scored in Level 4, the highest performance level. This year’s results also show a two-thirds reduction in the number of students scoring in the lowest performance level (Level 1).

Writing scores showed impressive improvement. Of the 70,812 sophomores who took the writing test, 59,196 met or exceeded the standard. There were nearly 10,000 more students than last year who achieved the writing standard, and there were two-thirds fewer students performing in Level 1.

Of the 70,255 who took the mathematics test, 37,866 met or exceeded the standard. The improvements in mathematics were most noteworthy in the movement of students out of the lowest achievement level, a one-third reduction.

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