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South Kitsap School District students mostly outperform peers in reading, math

State high-school examinations increasingly are becoming more important as they are rolled into graduation requirements.

Last week, state officials released results of standardized tests taken last spring.

High-school students take the High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) and end-of-course (EOC) exams in algebra, geometry and biology. Tests for students in elementary and middle schools are known as Measurements of Student Progress (MSP).

South Kitsap School District director of instructional services Shannon Thompson said some of that data revealed a positive trend for the district. In biology, which eventually will become a state requirement for graduation, 64.1 percent of students statewide passed. Thompson said the district, which did not have data for that exam by press time, showed an improvement from from HSPE scores in March 2011, but acknowledged it is a small sample size. Students will have to pass both algebra and geometry exams in addition to biology to graduate in 2015.

"Our scores improved, but I would like to see that over time to know what to attribute that to," she said.

Students in third through eighth grade and sophomores are examined in reading. In those grades, SKSD students passing ranged from 65.9 percent in eighth grade to 80.2 percent as sophomores. The district's scores exceeded the state average in third through sixth grades and were slightly below average in seventh, eighth and 10th grade.

In Washington state, students traditionally have performed better in writing and reading tests than math and science at all grade levels. SKSD is no different. The percentage of children who passed the math exam in the district ranged from 57.5 percent in seventh grade to 77.4 percent in third grade. The district fared well compared to the state in third through sixth grade where it was more than 10 percent better average. Only is seventh-grade math did SKSD students (57.5 percent) perform worse than the state average (59.2).

"Like many districts we're continuing to look at math," Thompson said.

SKSD students also outperformed state averages in science and writing at the fourth-grade levels, but were worse than the norm in both subjects for eighth grade.

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