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Local high schools make gains in WASL from last year

Results from this year's WASL testing were released last Tuesday and sophomores at area high schools made gains in all three categories, but math is still a problem for Sunnyside, Grandview and Mabton.

Sunnyside High School students made strong gains in writing this year. There were 311 students that took the test with 238 (77 percent) passing. Twenty-one students from PRIDE High School took the test with 5 (24 percent) passing. Last year 36 percent of Sunnyside High School students passed the writing portion and three percent of PRIDE High School students passed the test.

There were 319 students who took the reading portion of the WASL with 230 (72 percent) passing. PRIDE High School saw 18 of their students take the reading portion and six (33 percent) students passed. Last year 53 percent of Sunnyside High School's students and 21 percent of PRIDE High School's students passed the reading portion.

"We're very pleased with the overall gains made in reading and writing," Gary Vegar, Executive Director for Instruction and Learning for Sunnyside High School, said. "Everything was positive as far as gains were concerned."

Sunnyside High School made small gains in the math portion but PRIDE High School didn't do as well as last year.

There were 316 students from Sunnyside High School who took the math test and 87 (28 percent) passed. Last year 23 percent of Sunnyside High School students passed the math portion. None of the 16 PRIDE High School students who took the math test passed.

"We still have a good deal of work to do in math," Vegar said. "We are improving. We've made a significant improvement over the last five years."

Grandview students also improved the most in the writing portion of the WASL. Results released to the Daily Sun News had scores from Grandview High School and Compass High School combined.

Seventy-eight percent of Grandview students passed the writing portion of the test. That's up from 58 percent a year ago.

In the reading portion, 70 percent of the Grandview students passed the test compared with 65 percent a year ago.

Thirty-one percent of Grandview students passed the math portion of the WASL. That's up two points from last year's 29 percent.

"Our numbers are higher from last year," Bill Weeks, Administrator for Assessment and Learning in Grandview, said. "Math is about the same. With the math scores so much lower than the other scores you begin to wonder if the test is really measuring what is being taught." Weeks said he was pleased with the reading and writing scores, though.

Mabton High School saw its students improve in reading and writing but saw negative gains in math.

Again, writing was the subject students improved the most in. There were 78 students who took the WASL and 73 percent of them passed the writing portion. That number was up sharply from 49 percent last year.

In the reading portion, 68 percent of Mabton High School's students passed. Up from 60 percent the year before.

Students saw a dramatic drop in math scores this year. Only 25 percent of the students passed the math portion compared to 36 percent for last year.

"We're not satisfied with where we are in math," Bob Thomas, a Mabton High School Counselor, said. "The fact we didn't make any gains this year is a little frustrating."

Thomas added the school is adopting a new math program for next year.

"We're thrilled with the writing and happy with the reading scores," he said. 'Based on their performance when they were seventh graders, they did much better. Only one person met all standards in the seventh grade."

The average WASL scores in the state for last year were 73 percent passing reading, 65 percent passing writing and 48 percent passing math.

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