MABTON - In test scores recently released by Washington state, students in the Mabton School District made progress in math and science.
Mabton third graders, for example, outperformed the state average on the MSP/HSPE math exam. While the state average showed 61.5 percent of third graders passing the math exam, 65.4 percent of Mabton's third graders passed the same test.
Mabton third graders saw their math scores improve considerably from the 50.7 percent who passed it last year.
Compared to 2009-10 averages, other math highlights from this past school year included fifth grade scores improving from 25 to 43.2 percent passing and sixth graders up from 26.6 percent passing to 35.3 percent this past year.
As for the new end of course high school math exams earlier this year, 93.8 percent of Mabton freshmen passed the exam compared to the statewide average of 56.3 percent.
The news was less positive for Mabton sophomores, as 33.3 percent passed the new math test compared to the state average of 60.8 passing.
Mabton Superintendent Minerva Morales explained the contrast.
"We have a significant number of students who have taken pre-algebra as ninth graders," she said.
As a result, the students didn't see algebra until they were sophomores.
Mabton is changing that, Morales said, and plans to have more students taking algebra during their freshman year.
That's not only to help prepare them for sophomore algebra and geometry classes, but to upgrade their overall high school course work.
"Our focus is to give them the opportunity to take algebra as freshmen with math support," Morales said.
As for the areas of improvement, which includes 52.1 percent of Mabton fifth graders passing the science testing in 2010-11 compared to just 30.9 percent in 2009-10, Morales attributes the progress to a tighter collaboration of teachers at earlier grade levels supporting students as they progress from grade to grade.
The program involves student assessment three times a year in math to map areas of progress and further work.
"Our focus was math and it paid off," Morales said.
At the same time, she noted that reading and writing scores leveled off, with no significant gains but no significant losses.
To help the district make progress in those areas, she said the focused efforts used for math will be expanded, especially in reading.