The scores on new fourth grade tests in most Spokane Valley schools reflect low scores announced statewide a few weeks ago.
Educators in the Valley say they’re not surprised, that schools are at the beginning of a long-term reform process.
“These kids are being tested in a way they’ve never done before,” said Sharon Mowry, director of curriculum for West Valley, defending her district’s performance.
“We’re at the beginning of reform … If we are in the same place two years from now, then we deserve to be slammed.”
The state scores showed that only 21.5 percent of students met the new standards for math; 47.6 in reading; 42.2 in writing; and 61.7 in listening.
Central Valley was slightly above the state averages in all four categories. East Valley and West Valley schools trailed the state scores.
Freeman Elementary School, however, surpassed the state scores in three of the four test categories.
In math, 46.2 percent of Freeman students passed; in reading 65.4 percent; in writing, 38.5 percent passed; in listening 78.2 percent passed.
“The only thing I think is different about us,” said Freeman Principal Nancy Comstock, “is the cooperation between home and school.”
She cites a heavy turnout of parents and grandparents who volunteer at the school, which has 613 students, kindergarten through eighth grade.
“I’ll be up front with you, though, I’m disappointed with the writing,” she said. “We just need to be better writers. You will not hear an excuse come out of my mouth.”
The fourth-grade tests, a major step in the state’s education reform movement, were given last spring to districts that volunteered. This year, the tests will be mandatory for fourth graders.
In West Valley, Mowry pointed out, the students who took the new tests are the same fourth-graders who last fall earned terrific scores in the old-fashioned CTBS standardized tests: in the 61st percentile in math; 61st percentile in language; and 57th percentile in reading.
“They’re maybe not rocket scientists, but they’re right up there,” she said.
East Valley’s fourth graders scored right along the national averages on last fall’s CTBS tests.
Schools also received scores in 15 sub-categories such as comprehending fiction or non-fiction; content/organization/style in writing; and number sense, measurement or geometric sense in math. Individual score sheets for students also include those breakdowns.
Here are other district scores on the new tests:
In Central Valley, 23 percent of students met the standard in math; 49 percent in reading; 46 percent in writing; and 66 percent in listening.
East Valley scores showed 15.9 percent of fourth-graders met the math standard; 39.8 percent in reading; 34.7 percent in writing; and 60.2 percent in listening.
West Valley had 16.2 percent of students pass the math standard; 44.3 percent in reading; 41 percent in writing; and 57.6 percent in listening.
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