In a gloomy report card, state standardized test scores released Wednesday show that most local school districts fell short of state averages for math and language learning.
The state uses the Smarter Balanced Assessment to test math and English language proficiency in the third through eighth grades and in students’ sophomore year of high school, according to the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website. These tests have been given consistently to all Washington state students since 2015, excluding private- and home-schooled students.
Students take the test at the end of the school year, and the results are used for “school, district, and student accountability,” the website said.
A few of the highlights :
- Only one local school district — Toledo — matched the state average in math, and most fell well short. For example, 39.4% of Longview students passed, while the math passing rate in Kelso was 35%. The state average was 49%. (See test scores graphic on page A4.)
- Five of the 11 school districts in the TDN circulation area beat the state average in English: Woodland, Toutle Lake, Wahkiakum, Toledo and Naselle.
- Toledo was the only district in the TDN circulation area to score higher than the state average in both subjects.
- Among English test scores, Naselle had the highest passage rate (70.3%) and Winlock had the lowest (45.7%).
- Winlock also had the lowest math passage rate (24.9%) and Toledo had the highest (51%).
Kelso school officials could not be reached for comment Wednesday about their district’s scores.
In Longview, district Superintendent Dan Zorn acknowledged the need for improvement. However, he added that the district has been making positive progress over several years.
“We have a long way to go, but we feel good about the trajectory we’re on,” Zorn said.
District spokesman Rick Parrish pointed out that changes take time in a district as large as Longview’s.
You have free articles remaining.
“What’s very clear is the district is moving in the right direction,” Parrish said.
Zorn pointed to improvement in English scores if students are tracked “horizontally” — as they move from grade to grade. For example, 54% of last year’s Longview eighth graders passed the English test, up from 39% when they were in fourth grade.
However, progress in math has been less consistent and in some cases has not changed in some class “cohorts,” though last year’s seventh and eight graders have improved over the past several years.
Zorn credited the consistent overall upward trend to the school board’s focus on testing standards, and the hard work of school faculty.
“Our principals have worked really hard to make sure out schools are great places for our students, great places for our teachers, and welcoming for families,” Zorn said. “It takes a lot of hard work.”
Test results were released Wednesday by Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal, who said in a press release that overall, scores remained stable across the state.
“Stability can be a double-edged sword,” Reykdal said. “On one hand, it means our educational system is maintaining the gains we have made. On the other, it means achievement gaps between student groups are continuing to persist.”
The press release also said that Washington’s standardized tests are “among the most rigorous in the nation.”
A school-by-school breakdown can be found on the Superintendent of Public Instruction‘s website under the “report card” heading.