Larger Clallam school districts post better test scores
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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But the three smaller districts’ students struggled in the 2011-2012 school year, according to a report issued by the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Statewide, test scores improved even as standards have become more challenging.
“Students are continuing to make progress. Science and math scores are up in almost every grade,” state Superintendent Randy Dorn said.
Dorn cited a 10.4 percent jump in fifth-grade science scores, from 55.7 percent of students passing in 2011 to 66.1 percent in 2012, as well as a 4.7 percent jump in eighth-grade scores, from 61.6 percent in 2011 to 66.3 percent in 2012.
“This is the second year students have been tested on the new science standards, and what we’re seeing is that students are learning the new standards,” Dorn said.
In June, students in the third through eighth grades took the Measurements of Student Progress exams in math and reading, fourth- and seventh-grade students’ writing abilities were measured, and fifth- and eighth-grade students were tested in science.
End-of-course exams are a new state high school graduation requirement.
Students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 must pass exams in reading, writing and algebra.
Beginning with the class of 2015, students must pass those, plus geometry and biology, to graduate.
Detailed reports for each district are available at the OSPI website, http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us.
Port Angeles School District scores were the strongest in the county, with students “meeting or exceeding standards” at rates above state averages in all but one of 21 subject and grade-level categories.
Students exceeded state averages by more than 10 percent in six categories and by more than 5 percent in nine additional categories, and in many categories, students showed improvement over the 2011 exams.
“We’re especially pleased at the district level that all students, elementary through high school, scored at or above the state average in every content area, even as some state scores dropped or stayed the same,” Superintendent Jane Pryne said.
Students in the fifth and eighth grades met science standards at a rate more than 10 points higher than the state’s average, while third- and sixth-grade students achieved the same in reading.
Only 61.6 percent of fifth-graders met math standards but improved on their fourth-grade passing rate of 56.9 percent.
Also above state averages, 72.8 percent of biology students passed the end-of-course exam, 78.3 percent of students passed the algebra exam, and 86.2 percent passed the geometry exam.
Students in the Sequim School District met standards in 14 of 21 categories, exceeding the state average by more than 10 percent in three categories and by more than 5 percent in an additional five categories.
Fifth-grade Sequim students excelled in the reading and science exams, meeting or exceeding standards by more than 10 percent above state averages.
The fifth-graders also exceeded state writing averages.
In six categories, students improved their passing rates over 2011’s, with significant improvements in fifth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores.
In reading, Sequim fifth-grade students met standards at a rate of 81.8 percent, and in science 80.5 percent.
Sixth-graders struggled in math, as 50 percent met the standards and 11.4 percent fell below the state average.
End-of-course exam passing rates were 76.1 percent for algebra, 89.9 percent for geometry, 58.6 in biology, 80.2 in reading and 80.9 in writing.
In all but one subject, Quillayute Valley School District students fell below state averages — but showed improvement over 2011 scores.
Fifth-grade students improved from 57.1 percent meeting standards in reading and 43.5 percent in math as fourth-graders, to 70.9 in reading and 64.8 percent in math — a 21.3-point improvement that brought them above the state average.
Fifth- and eighth-grade students scored 1 percentage point below the state average for science, with 65.5 percent of fifth-graders and 65.2 percent of eighth-grade students meeting state standards.
More Forks High School students passed end-of-course math exams, from 48.6 percent passing the algebra exam in 2011 to 50.3 percent passing in 2012, and with geometry students improving from 61.8 percent passing in 2011 to 64.9 percent passing in 2012.
In the first year of the biology exam, 39.1 percent of students passed.
Cape Flattery high school students exceeded state averages in four categories and had scores similar to state standards in five categories but fell more than 5 percent below state averages in 12 categories.
The district’s students had significantly low rates of achievement in three categories.
Only 31.3 percent of sixth-grade students and 27.3 percent of eighth-graders met state standards in math
Eighth-graders struggled in science, with only 39.4 percent meeting standards.
Part of the problem is that at the middle school level, students don’t apply themselves for state exams, said Ann Renker, principal of the Neah Bay middle and high schools.
In 2010 and 2011 surveys, 63 percent and 47 percent of students, respectively, admitted on a survey that they did not do their best, Renker said.
“Students don’t just go from 22 percent in math to turn into 75 percent passing algebra,” she said.
At the high schools, 64.6 percent passed algebra, 76.3 percent passed geometry, 56.8 passed biology, and 93.3 percent passed the writing exam.
Crescent students exceeded state averages in six subjects, scored exactly at average in one and below state averages in 12 categories.
High school students enjoyed a rate higher than state averages, where they passed the reading testing at a rate of 90.0 percent, writing at 95.5 percent, algebra at 74.5 percent and biology at 77.3 percent.
And 69 percent passed the geometry exam.
Elementary and middle school students struggled in math, with only 27.3 percent of seventh- and eighth-graders meeting standards, and 22.7 percent in the fifth grade.
The district is implementing small-group and individual student interventions, Crescent School District Superintendent Clayton Mork said.
Small districts have both an advantage and a challenge, he said.
Fewer students and small class sizes mean that each struggling student can be identified for assistance, but a lack of having the “economy of size” to provide resources for implementation makes it more difficult, Mork said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: September 04. 2012 5:57PM