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WASL: The scores are coming soon

Want to see how South Whidbey High School students are scoring on Washington Assessment of Student Learning tests compared to other students in schools of similar size?

Curious about educational qualifications of teachers at SWHS?

Want to know the ethnic makeup of the South Whidbey student population?

All this can be found by taking a gander at the Washington State School Report Card, a document with information about school demographics, student performance and school staff. On Monday, some of this information — that relating to South Whidbey WASL scores — will be reviewed by the South Whidbey Board of Education at its meeting at the South Whidbey Intermediate School.

For the rest of the information, the Web is the best place to go, at www.reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us.

The report card was developed by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction to provide information on K-12 public school classrooms statewide. According to OSPI spokeswoman Kim Schmanke, state and federal law requires that this information be provided to the public.

While the report card is not as simple as giving and A-F rating to schools, clicking through the colorful graphs, charts on the OSPI Web site is informative and reveals some interesting data and trends. Conclusions and judgements are left to the reader.

Information on the report card information relates to test scores, particularly the WASL, which was given to 202 10th-graders in the spring of 2003. The results of the WASL tests given in the South Whidbey School District during the past year have been delayed by more than a month due to tallying errors by the state.

The WASL reflects what students know based on the state’s Essential Academic Learning Requirements in reading, writing, listening and mathematics.

Results were released this fall by Terry Bergeson, superintendent of the Office of Public Instruction.

According to assistant superintendent Dan Blanton, South Whidbey High School’s, what WASL scores he has seen were what district administrators were hoping for.

“The trend is continuing up in small, steady increments. Blanton said. This is what we want to see continuous improvement without huge variations from year to year.”

While not willing to offer a “letter grade” Blanton said he is “happy with the scores.”

A look at the past five years of WASL scores it, shows a B might be the right grade, if the scale was based on continuous improvement.

The number of students who have met the test’s standard has been increasing steadily in three of the four areas tested — reading, mathematics and writing. Listening has remained about the same for three years, in the 90th percentile, up from a low in 1998 of 77 percent, the first year of the test.

Compared with nine other Washington school districts with similar enrollment, South Whidbey sophomores ranked only second behind Olympia High School, with about 2.5 percent fewer students meeting the standard in math and reading here.

The 2003 10th grade scores also reveal that girls scored better than boys across the board; 12.5 percent better in reading, 22.3 percent in writing, 8.2 percent in math and 5.9 percent in listening.

Students at other grade levels will begin taking the test in the 2005-06 school year. Other subjects, such as science, are being phased into the test over time.

Washington fourth- and seventh-graders also take the WASL.

The Report Card offers other information in addition to test scores.

A look at the demographics at South Whidbey High School reveals that in October 2002, 49.3 percent of enrollment was male and 50.7 percent was female. The ethnic makeup of the population for the same time period shows 92.7 percent of the 807 students were designated white, 3.5 percent Asian, 2.4 percent Hispanic, one percent American Indian or Native Alaskan and .5 percent black.

In 2001/2002 the dropout rate was 3.4 percent with a 89.2 percent graduation rate.

At least half — 53 percent — of the teachers at the high school have a master’s degree and average 13 years of teaching experience.

INFO BOX

Report Card on South Whidbey Schools

The Washington State School Report Card provides parents with information about K-12 public schools. A study of the graphs, percentages and reports reveal a snapshot of how students are performing in state tests, school demographics and qualifications of staff.

Due to a mix up in delivery and incorrect labeling of a few of the WASL tests, final scores for South Whidbey Schools were delayed.

Gayle Saran / staff photo

Academic achievement of South Whidbey High School tenth-graders is partially measured by the state’s Washington Assessment of Student Learning test. It’s intended to help districts and schools refine instructional practices and focus curriculum.

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