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Girls beat boys in test scores

Coupeville High School officials are concerned.

As they sorted through the results of last year’s WASL tests, they noticed two disconcerting trends: Girls are outperforming boys in every category and low-income students score lower on the test.

In the test sophomores took last spring, 68.8 percent of the boys met the reading standard, while 80 percent of the girls passed. In math, 54.2 percent of the boys passed while 62.5 percent of the girls passed. The largest disparity is in writing where 66.7 percent of the boys passed while 92.5 percent of the girls passed.

“We’re trying to keep a close eye on that,” said Phyllis Textor, principal of Coupeville Middle School and High School. “We don’t have any idea what’s causing it.”

Textor added the disparity between boys and girls at the high school follows a similar trend statewide.

She said staff has been studying the data and are considering looking at how to reach the boys, the opportunities they have and the culture at the high school.

At the middle school girls are scoring better on parts of the test. The disparity between the two sexes isn’t as large, however.

In reading, 70.6 percent of the boys passed the test while 78.8 percent of the girls passed. In math, 52.9 percent of the boys passed the test while 44.2 percent of the girls passed the test. In writing, 70.6 percent of the boys passed the test while 88.5 percent of the girls passed.

Textor said that officials may have to look at opportunities available for boys. She pointed out that the school sends a busload of girls to a career fair at Skagit Valley College every year and the school may have to look at making sure similar opportunities are available for the boys.

In addition to the disparity between the sexes, officials noticed low-income students scored lower on the test than other students. That came as a surprise to some officials.

“The last thing we want to happen is a gap between low-income and high-income,” Textor said.

An example of the disparity between the two groups can be found in math where 29.4 percent of the low-income students passed while 64.8 percent of the non-low-income students passed.

Students enrolled in free or reduced price meals comprise the low-income student category.

Although the she is concerned about the performance of low-income students, last year was the first year the school had such information available so it can’t yet establish a trend.

Textor said the school is locating the low-income students who did well on the WASL to discover why they did better than other students.

She wants to have a solution ready before the numbers of low-income students increase at the high school.

Approximately 21 percent of the students at the high school qualify for free and reduced lunches. That number has stayed fairly consistent in recent years.

However, that number could increase in coming years.

More than 41 percent of the students at Coupeville Elementary School were enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program last year. And that is a rate that has doubled in the past five years.

You can reach News-Times reporter Nathan Whalen at: nwhalen@whidbeynewstimes.com.

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