Scores send some to summer school

The Oak Harbor School District is sending out notices to dozens of families this week recommending their high school child take summer school.

That’s because they failed at least one part of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning and need help to improve their skills and ensure success when they take the test again in August.

To determine which students would benefit by taking the assessment again summer, the state released sophomore WASL results to school districts this week. The Oak Harbor School District received student results Wednesday afternoon.

While officials know each student’s score on the assessment, they don’t have hard information on the school district’s overall performance yet.

“Reading and writing is considerably up and math has remained stagnant,” said Joe Hunt, communications director for the Oak Harbor School District of an initial look at the information.

Hunt stressed that the results are very preliminary and that staff has to sort through the information to get an accurate picture of performance on a school district level.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction released preliminary statewide results of the tenth-grade WASL this week. The results show approximately 54 percent passed math, 86 percent passed reading and 84 percent passed writing.

School staff are using the preliminary WASL information to figure out the best way to help students pass the assessment.

“We’re using the data to look at students rather than looking at schools right now,” said Bill Weinsheimer, assistant principal at Oak Harbor High School.

The school is offering summer school courses for sophomores who failed parts of the test they took earlier in the spring. Officials are recommending 90 students should take an English course this summer and 111 students take a math course this summer. Some of those students are recommended to take both courses.

Weinsheimer said the students being recommended for the WASL courses are ones who almost passed the test. Summer school should give them the extra skills necessary to meet standards on the August assessment.

For students who are significantly below passing, they will take a combination of summer school and classes during the next school year to bring their skills up to speed. Students have five chances to pass the WASL before they graduate. Passing the reading, writing and math sections of the WASL is a graduation requirement beginning with the class of 2008.

The school district mailed a letter to families this week and they should receive a phone call next week encouraging them to enroll their children in the summer school courses.

School officials are also fine-tuning the data to get an accurate picture of the school district’s performance. They are nervous about sharing preliminary data with the public because it could change significantly in the coming months.

Berner said staff has to sift through the tests and correct such errors as improperly filled out test booklets and name duplications which could cause a student to receive two scores.

She said the data also have to be separated into grade levels. Students from every high school grade level took the assessment this year. Some freshmen wanted to get specific parts of the test out of the way early while some juniors and seniors took the test to improve their scores.

There were also a number of sophomores who didn’t take the test last spring. Because of the stakes involved, there was more security around the high school assessment this year. Students who missed test times weren’t allowed to retake it and have to wait until August for a chance to take it again. Weinsheimer said there were 40 students who didn’t have a score for any of the tests. He added that other students missed specific parts of the assessments but he didn’t have a number on how many there were.

WASL results about how the school district did on the assessment should be available in September.

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