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Test scores show progress

Schools chief cites matchup between curriculum, assessment

Washington students improved in all four areas measured on standardized tests compared with last year, results released Tuesday by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction show.

This was the first year results were announced for new end-of-course exams for students in algebra and geometry. The results: 66 percent passed Algebra 1 and 73 percent passed geometry. This year’s sophomores have to pass one of those tests to graduate; freshmen must pass both.

Randy Dorn, state superintendent of public instruction, attributed this year’s test scores to “better alignment between the curriculum and the assessment.”

Dorn added, “The math test isn’t easier; this test is just as rigorous.”

What’s more, the High School Proficiency Exam, which replaced the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, is shorter and is available online.

Spokane Public Schools and Central Valley School District both surpassed state levels on the algebra and geometry tests. Mead School District students were 11 percentage points below in algebra but 10 percentage points above in geometry.

Some additional highlights from the Measurements of Student Progress in grades 3 through 8 and the High School Proficiency Exam:

• This spring was the first time students in grades 5 and 8 were tested on the state’s new science standards.

• On that test, more than 79 percent of Central Valley’s fifth-graders met the standard in science, the highest in the region.

• Fifth- and eighth-graders in Spokane Public Schools, East Valley and West Valley school districts all scored better than the state average on the science exam.

• Central Valley School District students scored nearly 12 percentage points higher than the state level in geometry and the highest of the region’s districts.

• Statewide, more than 300,000 fourth- through eighth-graders took tests in reading, math and science online, approximately 30 percent of the tests taken in those grades.

• Nearly 93 percent of Mead School District’s sophomores passed the writing assessment.

• Sophomores in all five of these school districts exceeded the state average in reading.

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Then and Now: McGoldrick Lumber

James P. McGoldrick, born in 1859, started in the timber business in Minnesota. Seeing that most of the lumber he sold came from the Northwest, he moved to Spokane in 1906 and bought a mill south of Gonzaga College, east of downtown Spokane.