Eastside school districts are used to having above-average scores on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), and they didn't...
Eastside school districts are used to having above-average scores on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL), and they didn’t disappoint this year.
All seven districts — Lake Washington, Bellevue, Mercer Island, Northshore, Issaquah, Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley — had more successful test-takers than most of the state. Mercer Island, the Eastside leader, had a whopping 93 percent of its 10th-graders pass reading, 85 percent pass math and 89 percent pass writing.
But for the first time, this year’s incoming sophomores must pass all three subjects on the test to graduate, and many district officials say only 100 percent compliance will be good enough.
“We’re on the right path … [but] when you’re at a high level, every increment of improvement beyond that takes a lot more effort,” said Susan Stoltzfus, spokeswoman for the Northshore district.
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The high scores belie the fact that the number of Eastside 10th-graders passing all three subjects on the WASL is still relatively low, though every district has improved. Fifty-one percent of Riverview district sophomores passed all three subjects this year, up from 38 percent last year, and Bellevue district sophomores passing jumped to 66 percent from 63 percent.
Some schools, such as Cedarcrest High School in Duvall, BEST High School in Kirkland and Liberty High School in Renton, had some of the biggest increases in the number of passing 10th-graders in the Seattle area.
The Secondary Academy for Success, an alternative high school in Bothell, had about 19 percent of its sophomores pass all three subjects, down from 40 percent last year.
But Principal Holly Call said only 13 sophomores, many with learning disabilities, took the test this year at the small school. And the WASL is not designed for students who learn in nontraditional ways, Call said.
“It wasn’t that we did anything less intense, as far as work and help, and it wasn’t that they didn’t take it seriously,” Call said.
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or email@example.com