Clallam's biggest school districts score well in state tests
By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News
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Smaller school districts showed mixed results in student achievement — including two 100 percent passing rates at Clallam Bay School.
Statewide, more students are meeting state standards as indicated by test scores in a gradual upward trend, according to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
“There aren't any dramatic changes from last year, but our scores are up on more tests than down,” said state Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn.
The state results include students taking exams to meet new high school graduation requirements for the class of 2015 and beyond.
The class of 2015, which took end-of-course exams in May as 10th-graders, is the first class to be required to pass three years of math, including end-of-course (EOC) exams for algebra, geometry and biology, in addition to high school proficiency exams (HSPE) in reading and writing.
Those who do not pass EOC or HSPE exams the first time can continue retaking them until they pass.
Or they can use another exam such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or a “collection of evidence,” to meet state requirements.
Statewide, high school exit exam passing rates were:
-- Reading — 83.5 percent.
-- Writing — 84.9 percent.
-- Algebra 1/integrated math 1 — 80.7 percent.
-- Geometry/integrated math 2 — 89.4 percent.
-- Biology — 81.7 percent.
Full test results for each district, school and grade level are available at http://tinyurl.com/pdn-reportcard.
Here are test-score breakdowns by school district:
-- Port Angeles School District: Students excelled in the 2012-2013 school year, exceeding stage averages by 10 percent or greater in most subjects.
“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,” said Superintendent Jane Pryne.
At Port Angeles High School, students overwhelmingly passed their exams.
In biology, 91.9 percent passed; math year 1 students passed at 85.2 percent; and in math year 2, 92.2 percent passed.
HSPE reading results included 85.2 percent who passed the exam, and in writing, 91 percent of students passed.
Districtwide, science scores were very strong at both grade levels tested in the elementary and middle school levels.
Fifth- and eighth-grade students met state science standards at rates considerably greater than state averages.
All grade levels, from third to 10th grade, passed reading and writing exams at rates 5 percent to 10 percent higher than state averages, and each group showed improvement over the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years, according to state statistics.
In math, only the fourth- and fifth-grade classes failed to exceed state averages.
-- Sequim School District: Students met state standards above the state average in all reading and science categories but had mixed results in math and writing.
“I think we're pleased,” said Vince Riccobene, executive director of teaching and learning.
Sequim High School students passed their end-of-course exams at rates exceeding state averages.
In biology, 86.3 percent passed; math year 1 students passed at 85.8 percent; and in math year 2, 94.2 percent passed.
HSPE reading results included 86.8 percent who passed the exam, and in writing, 87.2 percent of students passed.
At the middle school level, sixth- to eighth-grade students passed reading and science exams at rates just above state averages but well below in math and writing.
However, the middle school math and writing results, which fell to 5 percent to 10 percent points lower than state averages, have been an issue, Riccobene said.
“We know it's a challenge area for us,” he said.
All elementary school grades passed reading, writing, math and science exams at rates exceeding the state average.
Fifth-grade students met standards at a rate of 87.6 percent, compared with a state average of 72.6 percent.
“It's been a steady climb,” Riccobene said of the fifth-grade achievement.
-- Quillayute Valley School District: Quillayute schools in Forks struggled in 2012-2013, seeing gains in high school scores though remaining below state averages.
“We're seeing gains at different grade levels,” said Superintendent Diana Reaume.
In biology, 62.6 percent passed; math year 1 students passed at 60.4 percent; and in math year 2, 84.7 percent passed.
HSPE reading results included 73.3 percent who passed the exam, and in writing, 71.1 percent of students passed.
However, the school reached an 88 percent on-time graduation rate — considerably better than the state average, Reaume said.
All elementary school scores and all but one middle school score remained below state averages.
The district has been hampered by low retention of teachers, which makes learning difficult for young students, Reaume said.
Improving teacher retention rates to create a more stable environment for students will be a focus for the district, she said.
-- Cape Flattery School District: In an unusual set of perfect test results, 100 percent of Clallam Bay's 10th-grade students passed both reading and writing HSPE exams on the first try.
The students also exceeded state averages as 90 percent passed biology, and 81.4 percent passed the math year 1 exam.
Elementary school students excelled in two subjects: In fifth-grade science, 81.8 percent of students met state standards compared with 66.5 percent statewide, while 90.9 percent of eighth-grade students met the reading standards compared with 66.2 percent statewide.
However, only 54.5 percent of fifth-grade students met reading standards, and 36.4 percent of eighth-graders met math standards.
Most Clallam Bay elementary-level class results were not published by the state due to low enrollment numbers.
At Neah Bay High School, student scores were low but improving, said Principal Ann Renker.
Scores for the biology EOC improved by 14 percent over 2011-2012 results, Renker said.
The 68.3 percent passing rate is 13.4 percent below the state average.
The school is still undergoing a major turnaround, after as few as 4 percent were meeting state standards in 2003-2004, Renker added.
In math year 1 testing, 74.2 percent passed, and in math year 2, 82.7 percent passed.
HSPE results showed that in reading, 79.3 percent passed the exam, and in writing, 92.9 percent of students passed.
Neah Bay elementary students scored above state averages in science, writing, third- and fifth-grade reading, and in fifth-grade math.
-- Crescent School District: Crescent High School students improved their rates of meeting state standards over the past two years, which Superintendent Clayton Mork said could be attributed to a new program enacted to help high school students with core subjects.
In the three EOC biology exam, students passed at 97.4 percent. That shows substantial growth compared with the school's 2010-2011 HSPE science passing rate of 49 percent and 2011-2012 EOC score of 64.3.
Crescent students met standards for math year 1 at 88.4 percent and math year 2 at 87.5 percent.
HSPE reading results showed that 81 percent met state standards, and in writing, 87 percent of students received passing marks.
Crescent's new program keeps teachers in core subjects at school late on Tuesdays and Thursdays to oversee learning labs to help struggling students as well as those who are working to excel.
At the elementary and middle school levels, the fifth grade scored above state averages in reading and science but overall passed the exams at a considerably lower rate than the state averages.
“We will continue to learn more about the nature of the challenges facing us regarding student performance and work toward adapting our programs and services such that we can help more students achieve,” Mork said.
Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: August 27. 2013 6:18PM