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Reading, math scores up; writing down

Posted: Sunday, June 06, 2010

Something seems to have gone right in the fourth-grade this year.

Though preliminary Standards Based Assessments scores for the Juneau School district show a mostly steady decline in reading, writing and math for that grade level from 2005 to 2009, this academic year the fourth grade was one of two grade levels that improved in all three subjects, even exceeding its previous high score in 2005.

Fourth-grade students also improved their scores in all three subjects compared to those same students' scores while in the third grade.

Standards Based Assessments, or SBAs, are given to all students in grades three through 10. The state Department of Education and Early Development last week released preliminary district-wide scores showing the percentage of students in each grade level deemed "proficient/advanced" in each subject.

Overall, Juneau data showed student performance in reading ranging from stable to significant growth up to grade nine. Math scores showed strong growth in most grades.

In writing, fourth'grade students' scores improved from the same students' scores a year ago, but most other grade levels lost ground.

Superintendent Glenn Gelbrich said the district is "very encouraged" by student achievement in math, but added that the transition into high school "continues to be a challenge."

Ninth-grade scores improved in all three subjects, but students making the transition from eighth grade to freshman year lost ground.

Statewide, more Alaska students are scoring proficient on state tests in math and reading, according to preliminary results. Fewer students are scoring proficient on the writing assessments.

Statewide, more students are scoring proficient on science assessments, which are given in April to students only in grades 4, 8 and 10.

Alaska Education Commissioner Larry LeDoux said the state has "a long way to go to achieve our goals."

Juneau School District Curriculum and Assessment Coordinator Phil Loseby said even though this is preliminary data and has not been verified, because the data is dealing with such a large number of students it will likely remain stable.

School-wide scores will be released in August. Individual students' scores will be mailed to their families in June.

• Contact reporter Mary Catharine Martin at 523-2276 or maryc.martin@juneauempire.com.



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