31 October 2006

Blood, Sweat, and WASL

If you're an old-timer on this blog, then you know that I helped the district organize a summer program for kiddos who didn't pass the 10th grade WASL last April. Specifically, the program targeted students who were classified as a "near miss" by the state. Test retakes were in August, and we have been anxiously anticipating the results. The numbers finally arrived today.

News is good. Perhaps not as good as some would like to see---especially in the area of math---but you really have to get in and walk around inside the numbers a bit in order to really think about what's going on. Seventy percent of the Reading kids passed, 85% of the Writing testers passed, and about 40% of the math kids passed. Preliminary scuttlebutt among districts (since the state hasn't formally released information) is showing us that our students did better than several others.

And what of our summer seminar kiddos? I'll leave Reading and Writing out of the discussion, as the numbers were so small. In math, however, kids made a 16 point gain over their April scores. For students outside the targeted audience, this wasn't enough to put most of them over the bar, but they certainly got a lot closer. When we compared the groups with those kids who retook the math WASL but didn't receive any assistance, we were able to see that the gain was more than triple for those in the targeted group who got tutoring, and more than double for the others. In both cases, kids who participated in summer seminar had a lower average than kids who didn't---and then ended up vastly outscoring non-participants in August.

The bottom line here is still being ferreted out. We can say that the materials the state provided were helpful. We know that intensive tutoring and teaching around the standards can make a significant difference. Targets are clear for students to be able to hit. I don't know how many classroom teachers will take such a message to heart during the regular school year, but I hope that at least some will pay attention.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

I was pretty impressed by the materials the state put out, too. Structured well, and they really seemed to echo what the kids would see on the test.

Isn't it great when the intervention goes well?