State test results: Federal Way schools see mixed success

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and State Superintendent Randy Dorn released last year's state testing results this week, and reported that overall scores continue to trend upward.

"There aren't any dramatic changes from last year," Dorn said in a press release. "But our scores are up on more tests than down. In particular, I congratulate the Class of 2013 for their success in meeting a high bar on their exit exams."

Last year's seniors were the first students required by the state to pass a reading (High School Proficiency Exam, HSPE) exam; a writing HSPE; and one math (End of Course or EOC) exam. The Class of 2013 was the first class with the requirement to pass the math EOC. For last year's seniors, 94.7 passed their given reading test, 94.6 passed the writing, and 92 percent passed math.

For Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS), the results were a mixed bag. The district saw strong gains in high school scores, but had some difficulties at the middle school and elementary levels.

According to FWPS, "the district's high school scores this year showed substantial progress" with 10th-graders being one of the most improved groups, making gains in all tested areas. The Federal Way Public Academy (FWPA), the district notes, "scored a first in the district: 100 percent of FWPA's 10th-grade students met standard in four of five subjects; in the fifth (biology) 93.8 percent of the schools 10th-graders made standard."

For the lower schools, the district notes "16 elementary schools had increases in math, and most of those were double-digit gains."

For Superintendent Rob Neu, these improvements show that the direction the district has taken in recent years is paying off.

"The district is committed to accelerating success for all learners," Neu said in a news release. "The district is working to fine-tune the standards-based education system, and continues to provide professional development to give our teaching staff the tools and knowledge to help all children achieve academic success. Partnerships are being formed with educators from around the world, in order to prepare our students for the global economy they will need to navigate."

Neu said that students and staff have been incredibly resilient in the face of change in the past few years, and feels they will continue to succeed with the changes coming in the near future.

"Tests are only one measure of our students' success," he said. "However, they are an important measure, and we are committed to achieving the consistent growth among all of our students. Our staff is working hard and has adapted to a variety of changes in the past two years. More changes are being made to meet the Common Core State Standards requirements. While we do not have control of all changes, we must be ready to adapt."

FWPS highlights

• Grade 3: 11 elementary schools exceeded the state average in reading; 9 exceeded it in math.

• Grade 4: 16 elementary schools had increases in math, with most being double-digit gains; 13 of those schools exceeded the state average; 10 exceeded the state average for reading

• Two high poverty schools, Lake Grove Elementary and Valhalla Elementary, saw double-digit gains in various subjects

• Grade 5: According to the district, "several schools had double-digit increases in science and 12 schools exceeded the state average in math."

• Grade 6: Scores were down overall, although the district notes Woodmont gained over 20 points in reading and math. Along with this, six middle schools/academies exceeded the state average in reading.

• Grade 7: Scores showed no discernible movement, although the Technology Access Foundation Academy (TAFA) and Totem Middle School made "major gains in reading, math, and writing."

• Grade 8: Scores were "down across the board" according to the district, but FWPS did note that Federal Way Public Academy was the exception. Along with that, six middle schools/academies exceeded the state average in reading, while seven exceeded it in math.

• High schools exceeded the state average in reading and writing, according to FWPS.

• Todd Beamer and Federal Way high schools "achieved strong gains in math 2 and biology."

• Decatur High School increased scores across the board

• TAFA high schoolers made strong gains in reading, writing and biology.

• The Internet Academy also saw gains in writing, math 1 and biology.

Learn more

To see Federal Way's scores, visit

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