10th grade test scores improving across Yakima County

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Test scores are out and more students across Yakima County are performing where they should be. KIMA took a look at what's behind the improvement.

Kids in Yakima County head back to class this week. But, report cards were just handed out for their schools. They're getting higher marks for student performance.

"There's a lot of opportunities for kids to push themselves," said Alex Conley. "What that means for the average and how that affects standards, that's a challenge."

Alex Conley's daughters go to school in Yakima and West Valley. In general, more high school students are at their grade level or better in both reading and Math. But, those results don't satisfy everyone.

"Perhaps if we taught our children how to love learning rather than study to pass the tests, we will get different results," said Karelys Davis.

The percentage of 10th grade students passing Algebra got better across Yakima County. They jumped for East Valley, Yakima, West Valley and Selah last school year. There was a big drop in Sunnyside.

However, Sunnyside led the way in improvement for 10th graders reading at their level. West Valley is doing the best with almost 90 percent meeting the standard. Selah, East Valley and Yakima didn't fare as well.

Some parents don't think the schools are doing enough.

"I'm definitely going to home school my kid so that we can give him an opportunity to be more ready for the job market and for life in general," said Karelys.

The Yakima School District is emphasizing reading with a program for high school students who are below grade level. Kids work on computers to improve grammar, spelling and comprehension. Alex seems happy with the direction he is seeing.

"I'm not content with the scores. I'm content with the opportunities I've seen given to my kids in both places and I think there's a lot to be done on improving education," said Alex.

Administrators in the West Valley School District say they're helping students improve by changing teaching styles. That includes moving away from lectures to more student engagement.