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Students top national test average

SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - Students in the Snoqualmie Valley School District scored higher on average in all sections of both the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and the Iowa Test of Educational Development (ITED) than most of their counterparts around the nation.

"By and large, we are pleased with the scores," said Don McConkey, district assistant superintendent for instructional services.

Scores recently released by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) show the district's third-, sixth- and ninth-graders scored higher than average on both the national and state levels. The ITBS was administered earlier this year to third- and sixth-grades, and the ITED was given to all the district's ninth-graders.

Like the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), the ITBS and ITED are standardized tests that cover different academic skill sets for different grade levels. Unlike the WASL, the Iowa tests have not been considered as a possible graduation requirement, although the district does use the ITBS to identity potential students for the district's Hi-C (highly capable) program.

"The Iowa tests provide one more perspective on how well Washington students are truly doing," said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Terry Bergeson.

Scores are given as a National Percentile Rank (NPR) that shows how students compare to "the norm." A score of 57 percent, for instance, shows that a school's score was at or better than 57 percent of the nation. The national average is 50 percent.

Third-grade ITBS scores in the district were strong, with students scoring 67 percent in reading, 78 percent in math and achieving a 73-percent core total score; each one well above the respective Washington State scores of 58, 67 and 63.

Likewise, sixth-graders scored more than 10 points better than the state average. Their reading score was 68 (state average was 55), their math score was 70 (state average was 58), their language score was 66 (state average was 55) and their core total score was 70 (state average was 56).

High-school scores exceeded the state averages as well. Ninth-grade expression was 58 to the state's 54; reading was 59 to the state's 53; quantitative thinking was 62 to the state's 59; and the core total was 61 to the state's 57.

While scores remained above average, some of the scores stayed stagnant or even dropped compared to last year. Third-grade reading went down 1percentage point to 67 from 68, although the overall reading and math composite score increased from 72 to 73 percent. Sixth-grade reading and language both dropped 1 percentage point, but the core total went up 2 points. All of the district's high-school scores were either equal to or 2 points lower than last year.

Overall, most of the third- and sixth-grade scores have continued an upward trend from the 1998-1999 and 1999-2000 school years to the present. All third-grade scores from this year were 3 to 7 points higher than 1998-1999, and all sixth-grade scores were higher than those of 1999-2000.

Ninth-grade scores, however, have remained pretty much the same since 1999-2000. Quantitative thinking was 3 points higher this year, but all the rest were equal to or 1 point lower than 1999-2000.

McConkey said the district has continued, however, its upward trend with the Iowa test scores. The district gets information on specific student performance on the Iowa tests and McConkey said that students who have been with the district longer tend to perform better.

"That says a lot about the stability of our district," he said.

There are a number of factors that can affect a test score and McConkey said the tests really act as a snapshot of how the district is doing at a specific time.

McConkey also said that the state is considering getting rid of the Iowa tests in the future.

"That could be something that comes down the pike," he said.

* For more information and scores from the Iowa and other tests for schools around the state, visit http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us

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