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School districts interpret WASL results positively

The scores are out and Oak Harbor students continue to show improvement.

And while Coupeville’s scores declined over last year, students in the district beat out the state average scores in almost every area and grade level.

The state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) results showing that Oak Harbor’s fourth, seventh and 10th grade students are more proficient in most areas than indicated in last year’s scores. Additionally, Oak Harbor’s students’ scores largely exceeded the state average.

Coupeville’s 2002 scores reveal declines in proficiency levels in all areas except fourth-grade reading and seventh-grade writing. However, their scores exceeded the state average in all areas except fourth-grade writing and math.

And, Coupeville fourth-graders show a raised reading level over last year (a seven-percent increase), which is a strong indicator of student improvement, said Bill Myhr, superintendent of Coupeville School District.

Students with test scores in the bottom 25 percent fall into level one, Myhr explained. In the 2002 WASL reading results for fourth graders, no Coupeville student fell to level one. The goal, Myhr said, is to bring students from level one to two, then to levels three and four during their kindergarten through 12th grade education.

“We consider this test not a test of our students, but of our adult instructional system,” Myhr said. The adult instructional system includes all adults in a child’s life, as well as social and environmental factors, from a child’s birth on.

“We’re still pleased with our WASL progress,” Myhr said, despite the decrease in proficiency scores in the district over last year’s. “We see it . . . as a need to continue to improve in our instructional system.”

This includes a partnership between all adults in a child’s life. For Coupeville fourth graders who do not pass the WASL, remedial efforts include an individual educational plan, including agreement between the students, parents, teachers and principal, Myhr said.

For Oak Harbor Schools, 2002 WASL results are expected to show even better after scores are adjusted at the end of this month, said Charisse Berner, curriculum director.

“OHHS reports had errors that when adjusted will increase the number of students meeting the standard in grade 10,” Berner wrote in a report to the school board.

In her written analysis Berner noted that all three grade levels made gains in mathematics scores, with the most significant gain in the seventh-grade. Additionally, approximately five-percent more fourth-graders met the standard in writing than in the 2001 WASL.

Last year North Whidbey Middle School scored dramatically better than Oak Harbor Middle School in all areas. In the current year’s results, Berner reported that both middle schools’ scores improved in all areas. The gap in the scoring between the two schools narrowed as well.

Berner also noted that Olympic View Elementary students’ scores dropped in reading and listening. Olympic View students were unexpectedly uprooted at testing time, when the interim school site where they were attending classes was closed due to air quality concerns.

“We anticipated this trend in the results at OVE due to the relocation at testing time,” Berner said.

The WASL is an achievement test administered each spring to fourth, seventh, and 10th-graders at every public school in the state.

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