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Fourth grade test scores jump

"South Whidbey students in the fourth grade last spring showed significant improvement in math, reading and writing, according to the results of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL).The WASL test results were released to the public Tuesday morning by the state Superintendent of Public Instruction. The South Whidbey students scored 56.9 percent in math, up from 34.8 percent the year before; and 78.3 in reading, up from 58.0 the prior year. Writing showed a similar jump, to 55.2 in 1999-2000 compared to 32.7 the year before. The final category, listening, was about the same at 75.4.They were the best scores turned in on Whidbey Island as the South Whidbey fourth graders beat their peers in Coupeville and Oak Harbor in every category.Parents of the children who took the test -- this year's fifth graders -- should have received the good news Tuesday afternoon. Doug Hale, principal of South Whidbey Intermediate School, said that morning that staff members were scrambling to get the results out.Hale said administrators have known the test results for about a week, but with the busy start of the school year there hasn't been much discussion with the staff. I was pleased, Hale said. It's really a compliment to the hard work the staff has done.John Willson supervises tests for the South Whidbey School District, but he is on vacation. According to Hale, he will give his report at the October school board meeting.Hale is in his first year as intermediate school principal. He said the improvement could be attributed to several factors, such as new curricula making an impact. In addition, this year's fifth grade class is known to be especially strong, according to Hale.The 1999-2000 test results show a steady improvement in South Whidbey fourth grade test scores since WASL testing began four years ago. "

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