State superintendent says test results are encouraging
By GREG ALLMAIN
Federal Way Mirror reporter
August 31, 2012 · Updated 2:01 PM
The Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released state testing results earlier this week. State Superintendent Randy Dorn said he found the results encouraging.
Three modes of testing are given to students in the state.
For elementary and middle school students, a Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) is administered, while high school students are given High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE). High school students also have begun taking End-of-Course (EOC) exams in recent years in a couple of subjects.
"Students are continuing to make progress," Dorn said. "Science and math scores are up in almost every grade. Those trends are due to the great work that our science and math teachers do every day, and the fact that we have new standards that are clear and address what students need now and in the future."
Dorn referenced the fact that fifth-grade students experienced a jump of 10.4 percent in their science scores, while eighth-graders saw a 4.7 percent improvement in their scores in science. The state's superintendent credited a renewed focus, especially on science, as the cause for these positive gains.
"This is the second year that students have been tested on the new science standards," he said. "What we're seeing is that students are learning the new standards. I also think schools are placing an increased emphasis on science at the earlier grades, and it's paying off in test scores."
At the high school level, OSPI notes that the class of 2013-14 is the first that will have to pass a Math EOC in order to graduate.
According to the state's data, 78.3 passed an EOC last year, and that 74 percent total has already met all the state's testing requirements for graduation. For those who may have missed the mark, Dorn said there's plenty of opportunities to try and meet the requirement.
"They can retake the math EOC this winter, or HSPEs in the spring if they need to, or try one of the available alternatives," he said. "I appreciate schools and staff across the state that will spend extra time getting those students over the bar."
10th-grade students were the first to take a Biology EOC during last year's testing, and a total of 61 percent passed the test.
That result was encouraging, Dorn said, especially because of the fact that only 49.9 percent of students passed the science HSPE the year previous. Those same 10th graders showed strong in reading and writing, with 79.6 percent passing in reading, and 83 percent passing in writing.
Scores for students in grades 3-8 were a "mixed bag" according to OSPI. Each grade increased its math scores, except for fourth grade, which showed no change. Eighth-graders showed a notable bump in maths cores, increasing 5.0 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Writing and reading scores stayed relatively static, with no big swings in either direction, according to OSPI.
To see all the data from OSPI, visit http://reportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us.
Contact Federal Way Mirror reporter Greg Allmain at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-925-5565 ext. 5054.