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Test scores leave Enumclaw excited

By Brenda Sexton

The Courier-Herald

This year's Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) scores represent the Enumclaw School District's highest scores in reading and math across all grade levels, and that has district officials excited - especially the numbers posted at the high school.

"We are thrilled for the high school," Assistant Superintendent Mike Nelson said. "That staff and the leadership there has worked so hard."

That work ethic is reflected throughout the district, he said.

"Our staff has worked incredibly hard during the past few years to learn and implement new teaching strategies to help all students achieve at higher levels," Nelson said, first in a press release and then reiterated in an interview. "These results are just one set of indicators that shows the hard work of our consistent, long-standing focus on instruction and intense professional development paying off for students."

Enumclaw School District fourth-, seventh- and 10th-grade students scored at or above the State Uniform Bar, the target set by the state, for the percentage of students meeting the standard in all areas at all grade levels tested.

In the past four years, the district implemented a new math program at both the elementary and secondary levels. This year, elementary schools will adopt new science programs. The district also switched to a kindergarten through fifth-grade elementary system for better program continuity. Nelson said it's part of the district's goal to build a solid kindergarten through 12th-grade learning system.

At Enumclaw High, WASL results show at least 30 percent more students meeting standards than when the same group of students were tested on the seventh-grade WASL in reading in 2002. The 2005 WASL results also show more than 27 percent of students meeting standards than when those same students were tested in seventh-grade math.

Of the EHS sophomores, 53.1 percent met the standard in math, 83.6 percent in reading, 66.6 percent in writing and 43.1 percent in science. By comparison, statewide figures show 72.4 percent of 10th graders met reading standards, 47.1 percent in math, 64.7 percent in writing and 35.6 percent in science.

According to Nelson, the district's seventh-grade scores show increases and all-time high scores in all subject areas. The 2005 seventh-grade writing scores also represent a 12 percent increase from when the same group of was tested on the fourth-grade writing WASL in 2002.

Of Enumclaw seventh-graders, 47.7 percent met the standard in math, 65.9 percent in reading and 56.8 percent in writing. Roughly 49.1 percent of Enumclaw eighth-graders met the state's science standard. Across the state, 68.7 percent of seventh-graders met the state's reading standard, 50.5 percent in math and 60.9 percent in writing. The state reports 36.2 percent of eighth-graders met its science standard.

At the elementary level, Enumclaw fourth-graders did well. According to Nelson, fourth-grade math scores rose to more than 56 percent of students meeting standard, a 16 percent gain. And reading and writing scores also showed increases.

Results show 56.1 percent of Enumclaw fourth-graders met the state's math standard, 79.4 percent in reading and 48.4 in writing. Among the district's fifth-grade students 26.6 met the state's science standard. Black Diamond Elementary had the district's top fourth-grade scores in all areas.

In Washington state, 79.2 percent of fourth-graders met the reading standard, 60.6 in math and 57.5 percent in writing, while 35.5 percent of fifth-graders met the science standard.

Nelson also pointed out numbers the district is particularly proud of that don't show up in most statistics. It's the number of students in the lower skill levels in areas of reading, math and writing. Those numbers are significantly reduced from 1997 at all grade and subject levels.

Individual WASL results will go home with students in the coming weeks. More information is available at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction Web site, www.k12.wa.us.

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