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Preliminary WASL scores show gains

Preliminary math, reading and writing WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) results are in for 10th-grade Snoqualmie Valley School District No. 410 high-school students. The students took the state-mandated test in March and April of this year and scores were mailed home two weeks ago.

Of the 298 10th-graders who took the reading portion, about 92 percent met mastery standards for the WASL. Of the 280 students who took the writing portion, about 92 percent passed. About 67 percent of the 274 students who took the math portion passed.

Those numbers have increased over last year's final results, noted district superintendent Joel Aune.

According to the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), of the 336 10th graders who took the reading portion last year, about 78 percent met standards. About 67 percent of the 332 students who took the writing portion met standards and of the 332 who took the math test, about 54 percent met standards.

"I think the preliminary numbers that we've seen for our 10th-grade WASL results appear to be pretty positive," Aune said.

Statewide preliminary results for 10th graders noted that of the 71,136 students who took the reading portion, about 86 percent met standards. Of the 70,812 students who took the writing portion, about 84 percent passed. Of the 70,225 students who took the math section, about 54 percent met standards.

However, the statewide and district numbers are subject to adjustment as each school district and OSPI continue to do data clean-up and back checks of test scores, Aune explained.

The district still has to account for special-education tests, absences and other circumstances that may alter the results.

The district will not receive 10th-grade WASL scores for science or the test results for grades third through eighth until early to mid-August, with final numbers set to be released by OSPI before Sept. 10, according to Kathy Lohman, director of student services for the district.

Aune explained the reason why the 10th-grade scores arrived earlier than the rest (and why the 10th-graders took a portion of the test in March and another in April, while the third through eighth-grades only took the test in April).

It's because 10th grade is the only grade where one is allowed to retake the test if results indicate the student has not met the standards, Aune explained.

Taking the test earlier ensures that WASL scoring staff members have more time to evaluate the reading and writing portions of the tests.

Sending the results home sooner allows for students and schools to coordinate retake options, Lohman explained.

Passing the 10th-grade WASL is a graduation requirement for the class of 2008. The science portion of the WASL is not required for graduation at this time.

The WASL is a state-level required assessment of student learning in grades third through eighth and 10th. It covers reading, writing, math and science. Results are used to measure how students and schools meet state learning requirements.

Make-up days for those 10th-graders who missed the WASL or who did not pass will be Aug. 7-10; registration will be accepted now through July 9 at the OSPI Web site, www.k12.wa.us. Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie is an approved testing site. Students are allowed four additional opportunities to take the test, though after two attempts, students may try alternative approaches to demonstrate their capabilities.

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