Bremerton School District WASL results a mixed bag

State superintendent Dorn blames No Child Left Behind.

Bremerton School Dis-trict has improved reading and math scores in four of the seven grades tested, but results from the Washington Assessment of Student Learning show students in the district and statewide continue to struggle in many other categories.

“(The test) just got too big and too long,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn said of the WASL. “We have replaced the WASL to make state testing become more responsive, less time consuming and tied to technology. I’m confident students, teachers and the public will see these changes as a positive.”

The WASL is to be replaced this year with a shorter test that will include more multiple-choice questions. Third- through eighth-graders will take the Measurements of Student Progress and 10th-graders will be assessed using the High School Proficiency Exam, according to BSD and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Results for BSD show improvements in fourth- and fifth-grade math scores and a decline in fifth-grade reading, but fifth-grade reading scores dropped statewide, not just in Bremerton.

“Consistent with the state, we experienced a slight decrease in fifth-grade reading,” BSD stated in a news release. “However, fourth-grade reading increased significantly and our third-grade reading and math scores have remained consistent over the past two years.”

Adequate Yearly Progress, a measurement used to demonstrate how schools and districts are doing with federal No Child Left Behind requirements, requires all schools and districts to have a certain and growing percentage of students passing the state’s reading and math tests each year so 100 percent of students in all schools nationwide will be proficient in reading and mathematics by 2014.

This year, 1,073 schools and 103 districts are in improvement status, up from 618 schools and 57 districts last year, according to OSPI.

According to Dorn, the problem is not with students, schools or districts, but lies within the No Child Left Behind act itself.

“Our state testing scores are flat, yet the federal system shows an additional 500 schools are failing,” he said. “What is failing is No Child Left Behind. The law is completely unfair. While we know there is certainly room for improvement in our schools, it’s a statistical guarantee in this law that all of our schools will soon be in federal improvement status. That’s unrealistic. What is wrong with the law is that it is punitive and statistically impossible to succeed. We have high standards, and under NCLB you get penalized for that.”

To compare results statewide at the OSPI Report Card Web site, visit http://report

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