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Year-end assessments show science highs, reading lows in Snoqualmie schools

Results from the 2010-11 school year assessments showed dramatic increases in science and math scores from 2009 throughout the Snoqualmie Valley School District. Areas such as reading and writing showed less improvement and some declines, however.

As District Curriculum Director Don McConkey presented the overall results to the School Board of Directors Thursday, Sept. 8, he encouraged board members to remember, "One or two years does not make a trend, you really have to look at the long term."

The results presented at the meeting were a simple comparison with the results of student assessments from the 2009-2010 school year. They showed increases of 7 to 16 percent in the number of students meeting the state science requirements on the Measure of Student Progress (MSP) and High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE). Fifth graders improved by 10 percent, with 84.5 percent of the class meeting state requirements, and eighth graders improved 7.2 percent with 86.7 percent passing. Sophomores had the greatest improvement, but also the lowest initial scores. With a 15.8 percent improvement in scores, 64 percent of sophomores met the 2011 state science requirement.

Math scores were up in grade 4, where 76 percent of students met requirements, and grades 6 (77.1 percent), 7 (73 percent) and 8 (77.2 percent). Grades 3 and 5 showed decreases, to 77.9 percent of students, and 67.7 percent, respectively. Information on sophomore results was not comparable, since this was the first year that students were required to take the mathematics end of course (EOC) exam.

Writing scores were already high in grades 4, 7 and 10, and did not change significantly with this year's results. Fourth graders had 78.6 percent meeting state requirements, and seventh graders had 89.9 percent. At the high school, writing scores dropped slightly, but 94.4 percent of sophomores met the state requirement.

Reading scores were the least improved, with higher scores reported only for grades 8 and 10. In grade 3, a stable 85.7 percent of students passed, but in grades 4 and 5, scores dropped, by 3.5 percent and 4 percent respectively, resulting in 81.3 percent of fourth graders and 82.7 percent of fifth graders passing.

McConkey noted that part of this change could be explained by the change in third grade "from learning to read, to reading to learn."

Eighty-four percent of sixth graders and 75.4 percent of seventh graders met the state requirement at about the same level as the 2009 scores, but grades 8 and 10 showed increases of 4.5 percent to 84.9 percent of students, and 7.1 percent, to 95.5 percent of students, respectively.

McConkey said the board would have further opportunity to consider this year's results at its September 22 meeting, when Greg Lobdell of the Center for Educational Effectiveness (www.effectiveness.org) will speak to the board.

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