Letters to the Editor

Writer wrong on test scores

School board member Peter Hunt’s “Soundoff” article Nov. 19 is flawed. His statement that “Washington has the highest SAT scores in the nation for eight years in a row” is absolutely false. Washington actually ranks 25th. I recommend everyone look at the 10th grade reading section of Washington’s AYP test (www.k12.wa.us/assessment/State Testing/TestQuestions/Testquestions.aspx). I have been a reading specialist for 40  years. I gave sample tests of the 10th grade AYP to my fourth and fifth grade students. One fourth grader made one mistake. All the rest made no mistakes.

Where does Mr. Hunt find that Washington sets impossibly higher standards than most states? The WASL was rated three years ago as the second worst test in the nation and was replaced by the AYP. I could not find any ratings on this new test. It is my opinion, based on the results of testing my own students (mentioned above) that the current test is easier than the WASL.

If all states used the same test for measuring Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) the success rate of schools would be much easier to measure. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills has 14 subsections. We no longer give this test. Why? It is excellent for assisting parents and teachers in diagnosing areas on which students need work. Another excellent feature of this test is that it has a national norm.

To compare our students with a national norm, Johns Hopkins University ranked 22 schools in our state as “Drop out Factories” of which Oak Harbor was one. Of course this is based on graduating in four years instead of five like Oak Harbor High School does. How do you taxpayers like paying for an additional year of school?

I recognize that the high school gets students that are not properly prepared for high school. Please address the failures of all our schools. If you do not recognize a problem you cannot fix it. By not looking at our schools with critical eyes, we are doing a terrible disservice to our students.

Joyce King
Oak Harbor

(Joyce King Reading Clinic)


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