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Local Students Score Higher On State Tests

White Salmon Valley School District has reason to be proud of its students and staff

White Salmon School District has reason to be proud of its students and staff -- state test results show an improvement.

According to test results released in mid-June, White Salmon Valley School District third- and sixth-graders improved their Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (ITBS) scores in every category. And although not as high as the statewide average, students met or bettered the national average.

"This is a very positive step," said School District Superintendent Dale Palmer. "We were above the 50 percent mark. That's what we're striving for."

Palmer noted praise for the improved results goes to the district's teaching staff. "We have great instruction taking place in the classrooms," he said.

The ITBS, a multiple-choice, norm-referenced test, was administered to third- and sixth-grade students in the spring of 2001.

The test measures basic skills in reading, language and mathematics and serves as a means of comparing the skills Washington's students are learning with those of students across the country.

The average national score in reading and math is in the 50th percentile.

According to the test results released June 12, White Salmon Valley School District third-graders improved their scores by a minimum of 6 percent. The results showed:

A 6 percent improvement in reading, up to 51 percent from 45 percent;

An 8 percent improvement in math, up to 53 percent from 45 percent;

A 7 percent improvement in reading/math composite, up to 52 percent from 45 percent.

White Salmon sixth-graders also improved their scores with results showing:

A 6 percent improvement in reading, up to 51 percent from 45 percent;

A 3 percent improvement in math, up to 55 percent from 52 percent;

A 4 percent improvement in language, up to 50 percent from 46 percent;

And a 5 percent improvement in core, up to 52 percent from 47 percent.

Test results from other Klickitat County school districts showed improvement by some and drops in scoring by others. A breakdown of Trout Lake, Klickitat and Lyle school districts follows. Results for Glenwood students was not available.

In Trout Lake, scores fell in nearly all categories but still remained above the national average. Third-grade scores dropped in reading (down to 61 percent from 73 percent) and composite (down to 66 percent), and remained the same in math (at 71 percent); sixth-graders scored lower in all four testing areas -- reading (down to 54 percent from 70 percent), math (down to 68 percent from 75 percent), language (down to 63 percent from 75 percent), and core (down to 63 percent from 75 percent).

In Klickitat School District, sixth-graders stayed above the national average and greatly improved test scores in all areas. Third-graders, however, saw their results fall below the national average. Third-grade scores were: reading (down to 48 percent from 53 percent), math (down to 48 percent from 73 percent), and composite (down to 48 percent from 64 percent). Sixth-grade scores were: reading (up to 63 percent from 25 percent), math (up to 59 percent from 29 percent), language (up to 53 percent from 39 percent), and core (up to 58 percent from 29 percent).

Of the four districts noted, Lyle testing results were the least favorable, falling below the national average. Sixth-grade scores, however, saw marked improvement over last year's results. Third-grade scores were: reading (down to 32 percent from 58 percent), math (down to 39 percent from 58 percent), and composite (down to 35 percent from 58 percent). Sixth-grade scores were: reading (up to 41 percent from 29 percent), math (up to 39 percent from 23 percent), language (up to 47 percent from 34 percent), and core (up to 41 percent from 28 percent).

"On the whole, Washington's third- and sixth-graders continue to perform very well on this assessment, and I think a good deal of that success can be attributed to the higher standards we're asking students to meet," said Terry Bergeson, state superintendent of public instruction.

"The ITBS is a nationally-recognized, reliable assessment of the basic skills students need in core areas like mathematics, reading and language arts. Thanks to the ITBS, we can see how well our students fare in comparison to other kids across the country. But it does not provide us with a means of evaluating students in relation to the state standards. That's why we developed the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, which primarily focuses on the application of the skills evaluated with ITBS," added Bergeson.

Among third-graders in our state:

In reading, students scored in the 57th percentile, one point higher than last year.

In mathematics, students scored in the 64th percentile, one point higher than last year.

All ethnic groups for third-graders had higher scores this year, although performance gaps persist; Asian and White students continue to score higher than American Indian, Black and Hispanic students.

Overall, the state's sixth-graders also scored above the national averages (50th percentile) in reading, language and math.

Among sixth-graders in our state:

In reading, students scored in the 53rd percentile, one point lower than last year.

In language, students scored at the 54th percentile, 2 points lower than last year.

In mathematics, students scored in the 56th percentile, the same as last year.

Scores varied greatly by ethnicity, with Asian and white students scoring higher than American Indian, black, and Hispanic students.

Ninth-grade students are also tested with the Iowa Test of Educational Development (ITED). Washington students' scores for the ITED will be available sometime in July.

The ITBS also asked students to report information about factors that may affect student learning, such as computer access, Internet access, reading habits and availability of help for homework assignments. The survey found the following:

Third- and sixth-grade students reporting a computer at home scored 25 percentile points higher than those who did not.

66 percent of sixth-graders have access to the Internet and e-mail.

Over three-quarters of third-grade students said they get some adult help with homework at home or after school.

14 percent of third-grade students reported not having any adult help with homework after school.

59 percent of third-graders reported reading "just for fun" three or more times a week

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