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Improvement in Mabton math scores coming at a slow pace

MABTON - Mabton principals Jay Tyus and Dawn Weddle last night explained recent testing data to the Mabton School Board.

The two stated that the data reflects some hard truths. They said that although the math scores in the school district may not be what was hoped, they are seeing some improvement.

The two schools recently conducted Measure of Academic Progress testing, which Tyus and Weddle said correlates with WASL standards. They said the schools conduct the testing to measure how well students are progressing in preparation for WASL tests.

"Artz-Fox is in school improvement status, as is known," said Weddle.

She said the staff at the elementary school has been working toward improving test scores to get out of that status.

In doing so, the staff at the school conducts carousels in both math and reading for a better learning impact.

Carousels are a partnership between educators, where information is shared and discussed. The educators utilize the information to decide strategies for improvement.

Weddle said the current DIBELS results for second graders at Artz-Fox are the highest scores the school has seen, and reading fluency is up, as well.

However, math scores are a primary focus of the elementary school staff.

According to Weddle, the school has been conducting interventions for students needing to improve math scores, and the staff has created a top 10 list of goals for grade level expectations.

She also said the school faces a high absentee rate, and math and reading scores are influenced by the absences.

"For every 15 days a student misses school, they fall behind," stated Weddle.

She said there is a large problem district-wide with the level of math specialists.

"We (Artz-Fox) have no staff endorsed in math," Weddle explained.

She said the scores are improving with intensive interventions, however.

Tyus said Mabton Junior/Senior High School is facing similar issues in that there are few math coaches or specialists available statewide. Therefore, the district has had difficulty finding specialists to assist with the school improvements with math scores.

"Our math scores are atrocious. The median scores are at sixth grade WASL passage," Tyus stated.

He also said many of the students at the junior/senior high school are failing their math classes, and the school is working with ESD 105 to coordinate efforts in aligning the math curriculum throughout the district.

Tyus said the school needs math tutorial support for its students. It currently has students in the GEAR-UP program receiving some tutoring. Tyus said the staff members at the school could be utilized for tutoring students.

He said another challenge is the availability of the computer lab. He explained the lab is currently utilized for classroom instruction. If there was a way to coordinate more time for students needing to improve scores, the computers could be a tool for success, according to Tyus.

He also said outcome based interventions in a student-teacher partnership are a need at the junior/senior high school.

"It gets much deeper than what we have shared here," said Weddle.

"But we aren't here to sugar-coat the data," Tyus agreed, stating the schools are moving forward, just at a slow pace.

"The key is the speed at which the impact is made," he furthered.

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