Lake Washington School District students score well in state, national tests

Lake Washington School District (LWSD) students continue to perform well on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), according to the preliminary 2008 test score results announced Tuesday by the Office for the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Lake Washington School District (LWSD) students continue to perform well on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), according to the preliminary 2008 test score results announced Tuesday by the Office for the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Scores were significantly higher than state averages in every grade and subject tested.

The district continues to shine in writing and science. All three grades tested in science showed gains. All three grades tested were higher than last year’s writing scores. Math scores were mixed and reading scores were mixed.

“I’m proud of the work our staff and students have done, particularly in the areas of writing and science,” noted Superintendent Dr. Chip Kimball. “We have significant numbers of students who are at or above the WASL standard in all subject areas. Our teachers and principals will now carefully examine the results for every child to make sure they provide the right help for any student who has not been able to achieve that level.”

Scores rise in science, writing

Science scores reflected increases in each of the three grades in which the test was administered. The largest increase occurred in fifth grade scores, with 71.5 percent of Lake Washington students meeting the standard in science, up from 60.0 percent in 2007. The state average in fifth grade is 42.9 percent.

“We’re now seeing the results of adopting new science curricula and working hard to improve our instruction in this area,” noted Kimball. “Science is important to our community and we plan to continue that work.”

The percent of students meeting standard in writing increased in all three grades tested, though only slightly in grades four and ten. The seventh grade scores showed a larger gain as 87.1 percent of seventh graders met the standard, up 1.6 percent last year. Statewide, 69.7 percent of seventh graders met the standard.

“Writing is a strength in our district,” said Kimball. “We continue to see gains each year.”

Math scores gained more than the state scores in the two grades (fifth and eighth) where the state scores rose. Math scores also gained slightly in third grade, rising from 83.1 percent of students at standard to 83.7 percent, compared to 68.3 percent statewide, which fell 1.3 percent from last year. In sixth, seventh and tenth grades, math scores in this district fell at rates similar to statewide averages. The anomaly was fourth grade, where scores dropped from 79.9 percent at standard to only 70.1 percent. Still, the statewide average for fourth grade was 53.4 percent, a drop of 4.7 percent.

“Generally, our math scores fell in the grades where they fell statewide and rose even more than the rest of the state in the two grades where they increased statewide,” said Kimball. “The real anomaly for us was fourth grade, where we saw a larger drop than the statewide scores. While our scores remain higher than the rest of the state, we will take a close look at fourth grade math to determine what may have happened.”

Reading scores were another mixed area. Scores fell both in Lake Washington and statewide in fourth and seventh grades. Scores rose both in Lake Washington and statewide in fifth and sixth grades. In third grade, Lake Washington scores rose 2.7 percent while they fell half a percent statewide. Conversely, eight grade and tenth grade scores fell a small amount in Lake Washington while they gained slightly statewide.

“Reading was mixed for us this year,” said Kimball. “We are still doing well in the lower grades and our tenth grade scores remain high. Our junior high reading scores, while still relatively high, will be reviewed carefully.”

Seniors on the right track

The class of 2009 is well on its way to meeting the WASL graduation requirement. Just over 90 percent (90.3) have passed both the reading and writing portions of the WASL. Those students need only continue to pass a math course and take a math assessment (WASL, SAT, ACT) in order to graduate. Close to 80 percent (79.2 percent) have already passed the math WASL. All high schools in the district have identified which individual students still have one or more sections of the WASL to complete and are providing them support to meet the requirements through the WASL or an alternative.

The class of 2010, just beginning their junior year, is also on track. Close to 90 percent have passed the reading and writing tests (88.1 percent for reading and 89.5 percent for writing) while close to 70 percent have passed the math test (69.6 percent). These students will have several more opportunities to pass whichever sections of the WASL they have not yet passed.

“Our experience has been that students who take and pass the appropriate course load to graduate also are able to pass the WASL,” noted Kimball. “I expect that the motivated members of the class of 2010 will graduate. Our schools are prepared to provide the support they may need.”

Student SAT scores increase in LWSD

While national and state mean scores for college-bound seniors dipped in 2007, Lake Washington School District (LWSD) seniors scored higher on all three tests: critical reading, writing and mathematics.

The percent of students in the district taking the test dropped slightly, from 72 percent to 71 percent. District students continue to score well above state and national averages.

The largest increase came in math scores. LWSD college-bound seniors averaged 570 in math, up seven points from 563 in 2007. The mean for all college-bound seniors who took the test is 515, the same as in 2007, and Washington state students scored 533 on average, up two points.

Scores for Lake Washington seniors rose three points on average in critical reading. They averaged 555 in 2008, up from 552 in 2007. That compares to 526 for all students statewide and 502 for all students who took the SAT. Both the state and national averages were the same in 2007 and 2008.

Writing scores also increased for LWSD college-bound seniors, from 542 in 2007 to 545 in 2008. State scores averaged 509, down from 510, and scores for all students who took the SAT averaged 494, the same as in 2007.

“I’m very pleased to see our high school students perform so well on the SAT,” Kimball said. “These upward trends reflect a lot of work on the part of our teachers and our students. In this year’s SAT scores, our emphasis on math appears to be paying off.”

Lake Washington School District is the sixth largest district in the state of Washington. It now has over 23,000 students in 50 schools throughout Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish and a small portion of Woodinville.