SKSD students struggle with math

The majority of South Kitsap sophomores taking the Washington Assessment of Stu-dent Learning (WASL) tests in 2006 passed the reading and writing portions, but more than half will have to retake the math test to graduate, district results show.

Just three days after state education officials announced results, South Kitsap School District released its preliminary results on Monday. About 86 percent of SKHS students passed the reading and 84 percent passed writing, but only 49 percent passed math.

State officials released the results to all sophomores sooner than usual this year to give them a chance to retake the test, or to sign up for summer classes that will better prepare them to pass on one of four other chances.

The class of 2008 will be the first that must pass the WASL to earn their diplomas. Dan Whitford, the district’s director of instructional services, acknowledged math scores were a bit lower than expected.

“You hear people say, ‘I don’t do math.’ You never hear them say, ‘I don’t do reading,’ ” Whitford said. “We’re concerned about test anxiety. We got a lot of phone calls from parents about how distraught their kids feel.”

School district officials received only raw data, and adjustments will have to be made to account for hundreds of students who received no scores. Some may have been absent or were special education students who had to wait to take their tests, Whitford said.

Of 842 students taking the test in reading, 727 passed. In writing, 829 students took the test and 696 passed.

In math, 827 students tested, with 405 passing.

Letters were sent out to parents this week about the results, offering students a chance to sign up for summer classes that will run from July 10 through Aug. 3.

Test results also classified students in categories of “near miss” and “far miss,” and the district encourages those students in the “near miss” category to retest immediately when the WASL is offered in August.

Whitford said some students encounter a sort of “test panic” when presented with math testing, and they could likely perform better when presented with similar material again.

“Math has always been very challenging for most kids,” he said.

Meanwhile, “far miss” students will get other chances to retest, including spring and fall 2007 terms and the spring 2008 term.

Registration forms for the summer sessions can be obtained at

Forms must be returned to the South Kitsap School Administration Office at 1962 Hoover St. by June 30.

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