Statewide school assessment scores are in. How did your school do?
Days Creek and Glendale schools are struggling. Oakland and Elkton schools are thriving. And Roseburg schools are hovering right about average for the state.
That’s the picture emerging from the recently released statewide assessments in English, math and science for the 2017-18 school year.
The Smarter Balanced tests are based on the Common Core and are relatively new, being first administered in Oregon in spring 2015. Statewide, average scores are low, with an average 54.9 percent testing proficient in English, 40.5 percent in math and 60.2 percent in science. A student can be able to read, write and perform arithmetic and still not pass the test.
One of the first things educators say is these tests are tough. They’re not the multiple-choice evaluations of decades past. To earn “proficient” scores on these tests, students must distill information from articles and graphs, then write about what they’ve learned. They may be asked to identify which statements best support an article’s main point. And when it comes to math, they show their work.
“It’s not just the old days when you could take a guess on a multiple-choice question and you might get it right,” said Robert Emerson, Roseburg Public Schools director of teaching and learning.
The Smarter Balanced tests in English and math are administered to students in grades 3 through 8 and then again in grade 11. Science exams are given in grades 5, 8 and 11.
Roseburg Public Schools as a whole showed a bit of growth over the previous year, and scored just below the state averages in English, math and science. Roseburg High School had the best English score in the Roseburg School District, at 76.1 percent. Its scores in all three subjects were above the averages for high schools across the state.
The two elementary schools in the Roseburg district that performed best were Hucrest and Melrose. Those are not coincidentally the only two elementary schools in the system that don’t receive federal Title I assistance, which is based on the number of students from low socioeconomic households. Winchester Elementary School had the worst math score of all schools in the district, at 22.1 percent proficient, and Green the worst English score at 34.1 percent.
Emerson said overall he’s pleased with the scores. What he looks for is growth, and he’s seeing significant growth in English, though math scores are pretty flat. He said the difference in scores between Title I and non-Title I schools is typical, but that doesn’t mean he’s willing to accept it.
“You never want to look at that and say it’s because the kids are this way at this particular school. That’s not it. It’s that we need to have better systems in place to help kids succeed,” he said.
He said he’s encouraged about the ideas Winchester Elementary’s new principal Rick Snyder has brought from Medford. He also wants to look at what some of the better performing Title-I schools like Fullerton IV and Fir Grove have been doing right and get principals at lower-performing schools involved in making changes.
“We want for all students to be successful, regardless of the school that they attend,” he said.
He’s also encouraged by Eastwood Elementary School, which has scores that are the most improved over last year, including an almost 10 percent gain in math scores.
At Roseburg High School, Principal Jill Weber considers the scores a valuable tool for figuring out what the school can do to better help its students.
“I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have rigorous standards. It’s good for us to push kids to grow as much as they can and to gain as many skills as they can,” she said.
Weber said with changing standards, it takes more than just the right number of credits to earn a diploma. Students are being expected to learn more, and differently. They need to be able to think critically.
She said the school takes a team-teaching approach, with teachers in English meeting together on Wednesdays to map out strategies based on analysis of how well their techniques are working. Math teachers are doing the same.
They’re using Smarter Balanced data to help meet the needs of individual students. Some kids may get double English periods or writing-support classes to help them build their skills.
In science, they study interdisciplinary topics across the old subjects of biology, chemistry, physical science. Already, they’re learning for the soon-to-come Next Generation Science Standards that will become the basis of future statewide science assessments. That’s important in the real world, too, where students may be asked to make choices such as voting based on their understanding of complex scientific issues, Weber said.
At the district level across the county, Oakland School District posted the highest scores in English and science, while Elkton School District scored highest in math. Days Creek School District had the lowest scores in both English and math. The low math score was particularly striking, with 7.5 percent of students proficient. Only six students out of 80 who took the test at Days Creek met the math standard.
Glendale School District had the lowest science score, 41.4 percent, and the second lowest math score, 13.3 percent.
New Days Creek Superintendent Steve Woods said he’s not happy with below-average test scores.
“Our goal, though, is to continue to set high standards, reflect and review as far as our curriculum goes and make sure it really does match what we have with the Smarter Balanced Assessment,” he said. “In some cases, there may have been some books in our curriculum that we had that weren’t aligned with the Common Core.”
Woods said he thought the school’s size might have skewed the score, along with the fact that some students elected not to take the exams. However, Elkton and Oakland, on the other end of the scale, are also quite small.
Days Creek Student Success Coordinator Cathy Knapp said the district recently adopted a new math curriculum, and the district is working on aligning its curriculum with the standards and introducing new teaching strategies.
How did your school do?
Below is a list of schools around the county and the percentage of each school’s students who tested proficient in the three subjects English, math and science. The list does not include alternative or private schools. The state averages are at the top of the list:
Oregon—English: 54.9. Math: 40.5. Science: 60.2.
Roseburg High School—English: 76.1. Math: 41.6. Science: 56.
Sunnyslope Elementary—English: 43.2. Math: 30.3. Science: 52.8.
Winchester Elementary—English: 39. Math: 22.1. Science: 55.4.
Melrose Elementary—English: 55.6. Math: 49.7. Science: 70.7.
Jo Lane Middle—English: 56.3. Math: 35.6. Science: 60.1.
Fremont Middle—English: 49.8. Math: 42. Science: 70.4.
Hucrest Elementary—English: 62.7. Math: 50.6. Science: 70.7.
Green Elementary—English: 34.1. Math: 27.6. Science: 62.2.
Fullerton IV Elementary—English: 50.8. Math: 34.1. Science: 70.3.
Fir Grove Elementary—English: 40. Math: 42.6. Science: 54.5.
Eastwood Elementary—English: 43.6. Math: 35.5. Science: 57.5.
Days Creek Charter—English: 33.3. Math: 7.5. Science: 48.8.
Elkton Charter—English: 63.9. Math: 47.4. Science: 66.7.
Glendale Community Charter—English: 33.3. Math: ;5. Science: 22.2.
Glendale Elementary—English: 37.7. Math: 15. Science: 50.
Glide Elementary—English: 50.6. Math: 46.7. Science: 73.2.
Glide High—English: 86.4. Math: 45.5. Science: 79.5.
Glide Middle—English: 57.3. Math: 34. Science: 66.1.
North Douglas Elementary—English: 45.8. Math: 44.1. Science: 67.3.
North Douglas High—English: 84.2. Math: 47.4. Science: 78.9.
Lincoln Middle—English: 65.3. Math: 41.7. Science: 77.7.
Oakland Elementary—English: 51.7. Math: 39.1. Science: n/a.
Oakland High—English: 94.4. Math: 55.6. Science: 72.2.
Highland Elementary—English: 38.1. Math: 25.8. Science: 63.
Reedsport Community Charter—English: 33.6. Math: 12.7. Science: 60.7.
Riddle Elementary—English: 39.9. Math: 35.3. Science: 52.6.
Riddle High—English: 52.9. Math: 24.1. Science: 38.1.
Canyonville Elementary—English: 48.1. Math: 33.1. Science: 67.4.
Coffenberry Middle—English: 41.2. Math: 20. Science: 55.2.
Myrtle Creek Elementary—English: 29.1. Math: 14. Science: 38.8.
South Umpqua High—English: 71.8. Math: 33.3. Science: 39.7.
Tri City Elementary—English: 50.4. Math: 33.8. Science: 76.6.
East Sutherlin Primary—English: 36. Math: 33.3. Science: n/a.
Sutherlin High—English: 75.3. Math: 37. Science: 54.8.
Sutherlin Middle—English: 57.3. Math: 40.8. Science: 60.4.
West Sutherlin Intermediate—English: 45.9. Math: 34.2. Science: 69.7.
Brockway Elementary—English: 27.3. Math: 29.9. Science: n/a.
Douglas High—English: 73.2. Math: 19.8. Science: 32.5.
Lookingglass Elementary—English: 40.4. Math: 25.2. Science: 69.
McGovern Elementary—English: 33.6. Math: 24.9. Science: 56.5.
Winston Middle School—English: 39.4. Math: 19.3. Science: 65.6.
Yoncalla Elementary—English: 42.2. Math: 26.5. Science: 50.
Yoncalla High—English: 77.3. Math: 13.6. Science: 36.4.
Camas Valley—English: 47.1. Math: 31.1. Science: 63.8.