OSPI: 2017 state test scores continue to show gaps, little performance improvement

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction has released the 2017 state test results. Unlike the ACT scores we wrote about earlier, these tell us quite a bit about how Washington students are doing. OSPI reports,

Results from spring 2017 state tests show continued gaps in a number of areas, according to data released today by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).

“State tests are a good dipstick,” said Chris Reykdal, Superintendent of Public Instruction. “They let us see a point in time, and they show us where things are going well and where improvement is needed. Most important, this year’s results are showing us that large gaps exist in subject areas, in race and ethnicity, and in poverty and mobility. And those gaps are telling us that we have a lot of work to do.”

As with the national ACT scores, demographics matter.

New analysis by OSPI shows that poverty and mobility also play a key role in student achievement on the tests.

“We know that gaps exist between groups of students,” Reykdal said. “But when you add poverty, the gaps become much more pronounced. And when students move from district to district, their education is often disrupted. That shows in test scores.”

The Seattle Times reports on the release.

Washington students’ performance on Smarter Balanced tests — which cover English/language arts and math — held steady this year, but education leaders say the results show the state has a long way to go.

Across the state, the only improvement from 2016 came in seventh-grade reading, and sixth- and seventh-grade math, according to results released Thursday from the state superintendent’s office. The largest gain was in seventh-grade reading, where the passage rates were 60.1 percent, up 1.6 percentage points from 2016. (The rate for high-school juniors in math also increased by 4 percentage points, but those numbers are skewed because so many students opted out the exam in 2016, earning zeros.)

In all the other grades, passage rates stayed about the same or declined up to 2 percentage points.
But none of the gains or losses were large enough to be statistically significant, said state Superintendent Chris Reykdal.

More on the demographics.

Among racial groups, Asian seventh-graders passed at the highest rate, at 79 percent; followed by white students at 67 percent; students of two or more races at 64 percent; Hispanic students at 42 percent; Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students at 40 percent; black students at 39 percent; and American Indian/Alaska Native students at 32 percent.

Other stories in the Columbian, the Olympian and The Daily News.