Wednesday, October 7, 2009

McGilvra scores high in 2009 WASL testing

Although the Seattle school district has yet to release the scores for its individual schools, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction recently posted the spring 2009 results of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning; and the numbers for John J. McGilvra Elementary School look pretty impressive.

Parents who may have been concerned about the low scores for McGilvra’s fourth graders on the 2008 WASL writing test will be happy to know that this year the fourth-grade writing scores dramatically improved, with 91% of the students passing. In 2008 only 59% met the WASL standard, but this year’s results show that 2008 was simply a one-year aberration for the school. A similar outlier occurred in the 2000 WASL, when only 34% of McGilvra’s fourth graders passed the writing section. Overall, the trend line for the school on the writing test has been positive.

The following chart summarizes the school’s scores since the inception of WASL, comparing McGilvra to the rest of the school district and to the state as a whole:

When I asked former McGilvra principal Jo Shapiro to comment on the school’s success in raising the 4th grade writing scores, she gave credit to the 4th grade teachers, Barbara Bash and Maria Breuder. It has also been noted by current principal DeWanda Cook-Weaver (and by a McGilvra parent who commented on this blog) that PTA funding last year supported a part-time instructor at the school who was trained in the Writer’s Workshop method. The combined teaching efforts clearly worked.

The fourth graders were also tested in reading and math, with 95% and 83% passing these tests respectively. McGilvra’s scores were consistent with past years.

The school can also boast of its improvement this year on another WASL test: the school’s fifth graders increased their passing rate on the science portion of WASL from 73% in 2008 to 88% in 2009, an increase worthy of being touted in a recent Seattle Public Schools press release. Kudos should go to McGilvra's science teachers--Lisa Calvert, Kimber Kierstead, and Dirk Vonderlage--for their successful efforts at improving science education in the school. Here’s the positive trend line for McGilvra’s fifth-grade science scores:

As usual, McGilvra’s fifth graders also did well this year in the reading portion of WASL, with 95% passing; and in the math section, with 88% passing. The third grade class, meanwhile, received 91% passing scores in math and 88% passing scores in reading.

Overall, McGilvra has demonstrated a pretty solid record of achievement under WASL. This, however, is the last year that the test will be administered. The State’s new schools superintendent, Randy Dorn, was elected last year after a conducting an anti-WASL campaign. As a result, the State will replace WASL with Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) for grades 3-8. The details of MSP have yet to be finalized.

[Source: OSPI Report Card]

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kudos re science and other scores - just wanted to remind anyone reading that these are a result of ALL the science instruction the kids have had at McGilvra, not just in 5th grade. Same for math, reading and writing - it is a cumulative effort!


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