LWSD continues WASL gains at all three grades

More Lake Washington School District (LWSD) students than ever are performing at the standard required by the WASL, according to 2004-2005 test score results. The fifth largest district in the state continues to outperform state averages on the test.

The greatest gains came in reading among the district's seventh graders, where 83.3 percent of students made standard. That result is 7.9 percent higher than the 2003-2004 scores and compares to a statewide average of 68.7 percent.

In tenth grade, 85.5 percent of students met the standard, up 4.1 percent from the year before. That compares to 72.4 percent statewide. "Since 1996, we've focused on reading as a district and it has paid off," noted Dr. Don Saul, the district's superintendent. "Well over 80 percent of students at each grade level tested meet the reading standard. For fourth grade, almost ninety percent [89.6 percent] made the standard, which is almost unbelievable for a district of our size."

Math scores gained in all three grades tested. More fourth graders, 78.1 percent, met the math standard than other grades, about 17 percent higher than the state average. In seventh grade, the corresponding number was 70.9 percent and for tenth, 66.1 percent met standard. The statewide averages were 50.5 and 47.1 percent, respectively "Our focus on math, which began five years ago, is beginning to pay off," Saul added. "Math still needs more attention at all levels but we are seeing progress."

A program to identify students who are struggling in math for additional help is in its second year at the tenth-grade level.

Science scores reflected both gains and losses. In fifth grade, 56.3 percent of students met the standard in science, up 7.7 percent from the 2003-2004 scores. The state average in fifth grade is 35.5 percent. Eighth-grade science scores dropped almost as much, from 61.2 percent to 54.1 percent meeting standard. In tenth grade, 55.7 percent made the standard, up almost five percent from the previous year. It compares to 35.6 percent statewide. "We just instituted a new science curriculum in 8th grade last year," said Saul. "It has been our experience that it takes a few years for teachers to learn to use a new curriculum to its best advantage. "

The percent of students meeting standard in writing increased in both fourth and seventh grades, to 74.5 percent in fourth and 78.3 percent in seventh. Tenth-grade scores saw a drop of just .1 percent, essentially staying even at 79.8 percent. The state average for fourth grade was 57.5 percent, for seventh was 60.9 percent and for tenth, 64.7 percent.

Lake Washington School District has over 23,000 students in 48 schools located in Kirkland, Redmond and Sammamish. Information: www.lwsd.org.

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