State test results vary in Jefferson County schools
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Brinnon School District's exam results were not released because of having only 40 students, which makes results statistically meaningless.
Statewide, more students are meeting standards in the annual exams, with a gradual upward trend seen in this third year of testing, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“There aren't any dramatic changes
. . . but our scores are up on more tests,” said state Superintendent Randy Dorn.
Public school students take state tests each spring. Reading and math exams are given in third-through-eighth grades; students in fourth, seventh and 10th grades take writing exams; and fifth- and eighth-graders take science tests.
High school sophomores are tested in reading, algebra, geometry and biology.
The state is expected to move to the Smarter Balanced Assessments, which tests students based on the Common Core curriculum, in 2014.
The state results this year include those from exams taken to meet new high school graduation requirements.
Members of the 2015 graduating class, who took writing and science exams in May as 10th-graders, are the first class to have to pass three years of math classes and tests in two areas: algebra and geometry or integrated math.
In addition, they must pass exams in biology and in reading and writing.
Those who do not pass exams the first time can continue retaking them until they pass or use another exam, such as the SAT, a college admission test or a “collection of evidence,” to meet state requirements.
Statewide, high school exit exam passing rates were 83.5 percent in reading, 84.9 percent in writing, 80.7 percent in algebra/integrated math 1, 89.4 percent in geometry/integrated math 2 and 81.7 percent in biology.
Full exam results for each district, school, grade level and subject are available here: http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us.
Quilcene School District
The 212 Quilcene School District students met state standards at very high levels.
Students met standards in six categories in which they exceeded state passing rates by 15 percent or more: third- and eighth-grade reading, third- and sixth-grade math, seventh-grade writing and eighth-grade science.
They also exceeded state passing rates by 10 percent or more in another six categories; fourth- and sixth-grade reading, eighth-grade math and high school math year 1 and math year 2, and fifth-grade science.
“Our writing scores improved in every grade tested save one, and I was very pleased with the end-of-course assessments for the high school,” said Gary Stebbins, principal at Quilcene High School.
Quilcene High students passed their exams at rates exceeding state averages in both math areas, including a 100 percent passing score for math year 2 students and 86.7 percent in math year 1.
Eighty percent of students met standards in reading, while 86.7 percent met them in writing.
In biology, 54.5 percent passed the exam — the lowest score.
Chimacum School District
The 1,085 students in Chimacum have improved their performances in state exams, but most of the district's scores still fall well below state averages.
“I can't say I'm happy with the test scores. I'm not,” Rich Stewart, interim superintendent of Chimacum schools, said Tuesday.
Stewart was hired this summer after the departure of former Superintendent Craig Downs.
“It [low test scores] is why I'm here,” Stewart said.
Among elementary and middle school-age students, the eighth grade is the only age group that met reading and math standards at a rate higher than the state average, and math results dipped as low as 32.1 percent of students meeting standards in the fourth grade.
One of the few highlights in the district: the “science strand” is strong, Stewart said.
Fifth-graders met science standards at a rate of 75.4 percent, compared with a state average of 66.5 percent.
At Chimacum High School, the strongest subject was biology, where 90.7 percent of students passed the exam — nearly 10 percentage points higher than the state average.
Students improved passing rates in math and science, as 79.7 percent of students met math year 1 standards, and 87.3 percent of students met standards for second-year math.
Students achieved 100 percent passing rate in second-year integrated math, an alternative for geometry, Stewart noted.
Both overall math results were similar to state scores, falling within 3 percentage points of state averages.
Reading results were more than 10 percentage points below state averages and declined from previous years: 72.7 percent passed the reading exam, and 69.7 percent passed writing.
“We're going to have some real frank conversations,” Stewart said.
Port Townsend School District
In Port Townsend — with 1,292 student, the largest in East Jefferson County — student scores varied.
Lower passing rates were seen among the youngest students, while Blue Heron Middle School had strong scores.
Port Townsend High School students passed their end-of-course exams at rates exceeding state averages and improved passing rates over the past two years.
In biology, 83.7 percent passed, math year 1 students passed at 86.1 percent, and in second-year math, 91.6 percent passed.
In reading and writing exams, 90.8 percent of students met standards.
Blue Heron seventh-graders improved their scores in seven of eight assessments, met standards in reading and writing at rates higher than 15 percentage points above state averages and had math scores that topped state averages by more than 10 percent.
The eighth grade showed similarly strong scores in reading, math and science, and sixth-grade scores were mixed, with a high rate of passing reading exams, but fell below state averages in math.
“The difference is in the leadership,” said Superintendent David Engle.
The middle school is led by a former high school principal, he said, and that means more awareness of the continuum as the students move from one school to the next.
Elementary school reading and science scores held at or above state averages in the fourth and fifth grade but were below state averages in math and writing.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at email@example.com.
Last modified: August 28. 2013 12:42AM