Better! Student performance up across the board on new state education tests.

This morning the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction released the results of state tests last spring. The results are encouraging. 

The results – which include the Smarter Balanced tests in English language arts and math, as well as the science Measurements of Student Progress tests – were released today during a news conference.

This is the second year students took the Smarter Balanced tests. Randy Dorn, superintendent of public instruction, said he was pleased with the improvement shown in every grade. “We see the growth from last year’s baseline scores across the board in both ELA and math,” he said. “That’s a testament to the great work done by all school employees and by our students.”

Here’s the table showing how the lower grades performed.


The high school results:

For the Class of 2017, three out of four students (75.5 percent) are college and career ready in ELA as they enter their senior year, compared to one out of four students (26.1 percent) of the Class of 2016 as they entered their senior year. The 75.5 percent includes students who met as 10th graders and those who met as 11th graders. In math, the proficiency rate for the Class of 2017 is 21.8 percent, compared to 13.7 percent of the Class of 2016.

Students in the Class of 2018 – 10th graders in Spring 2016 – also performed well on the Smarter Balanced ELA test. A total of 70.8 percent who tested met the college- and career-ready standard in ELA and 55.0 percent met the same standard in math.

Participation rates, a problem last year, were also better. 

Schools tested 97-98 percent of their students in grades 3-8, with no more than 3 percent of students in any single grade refusing to take the tests. For 11th graders, the refusal rate was larger. Including students who passed the test as 10th graders in 2015, 11th grade participation in the ELA test was 88.1 percent and 61.4 percent in the math test. By comparison, the participation rates in 2015 were 53.3 percent for ELA and 49.6 percent for math.

Here’s how the Seattle Times reports the results:

Passage rates on last spring’s state standardized tests were higher than the year before in every grade, with as much as 3 percentage points higher in grades 3-8, education officials announced Tuesday.

More than half of students in grades 3-8 and 11 passed the English-language arts tests. The passage rates for math ranged from 59 percent in third grade to 22 percent in 11th grade. Full results can be found here.

The participation rate significantly improved from last year, with about 95 percent of students taking the state English-language arts and math tests.

The improvement is important, as is consistent measurement. Last year, the Washington Roundtable urged the state to “stay the course” in testing. Roundtable president Steve Mullin said at the time,

“We are pleased with this baseline year of Smarter Balanced results, which reflect the hard work of Washington’s educators and students. Washington must stay firm in its commitment to using the standards and assessments as a gauge of student achievement and to ensuring students demonstrate achievement of basic reading and writing skills as one requirement for high school graduation.”

The results this year are encouraging evidence that the commitment to standards and assessments is paying dividends. We look forward to continued progress in the coming years.