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Math, science, writing test scores up in Sunnyside

The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has released a report card for every district in the state based on last year's standardized tests, and Sunnyside administrators are pleased with the district's results.

Sunnyside schools improved in a majority of the areas of testing, with some dramatic improvements in mathematics. The district has been working hard to get into alignment with the state standards in math, and the test results show that the effort is paying off.

In addition to updating the math curriculum, the district put new benchmark assessments into place that help students stay on track with the state guidelines. Students are tested in the fall, winter and spring to find any gaps in their knowledge while they have time to fix the problem. The result has been a jump in virtually all math scores in the district, with the most impressive improvement at the sixth grade level. Grades four through 8 also improved, and the new End of Course (EOC) testing for tenth grade shows progress at that level as well.

Brian Hart, Executive Director of Curriculum Instruction and Assessment, says that the teachers in the district have worked hard to implement the new standards and fill gaps in the curriculum. Interventions have also been put in place to help students who need extra help, both during and after school.

The EOC tests, which are divided into separate algebra and geometry tests to accurately reflect how the subjects are taught, provide a much clearer picture of how district students are doing in math. Students who had already completed the coursework for algebra and geometry took a "makeup" exam. Says Hart, "What is awesome is that the 73 students who took the makeup test all passed."

The district has also made improvements in both science and writing. Hart says science teachers have been doing a great job already, and will have new tools this year with science kits that are fully aligned to the state standards.

The district still needs to improve in reading, but Hart says the benchmark tests that were so successful in improving the mathematics scores are being applied to reading courses this year.

The district will not know until later this month if it has met the adequate yearly progress goals required by No Child Left Behind.

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