Oregon Department of Education releases school performance data

posted Sep 12, 2013, 10:41 AM by Corey Thompson
The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) released school performance data on Thursday, September 12th showing the percentage of students who met and exceeded standards on the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) in reading, writing, math, and 
science. Sherwood exceeded the state average in all subjects at every grade level. 

According to the data released on Thursday, there are areas of strength and areas for improvement. 

In 3rd grade reading, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the state standard increased by 1.6%, while the state showed a decline of 4%. High school reading also showed strong results with over 95% meeting the standard, the highest number reported by the state. 

Reading scores decreased slightly in grades 4-7, but those declines roughly matched decreases from around the state. The number of 8th grade students meeting the standard in reading decreased by 5.7%, while the state only decreased by 1% in that subject.

There were also strengths in the math scores. Middle school math scores showed very strong gains during the 2011-12 school year. It is often difficult to maintain growth after a large increase. The middle schools were able to maintain that growth, with scores essentially flat from last year, while the state average in middle school math declined. High school math improved by 5.5% showing strong growth compared to 2011-12. Elementary math showed some decreases in the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard. 3rd grade decreased by 1.7%, 4th grade decreased by 4.9%, and 5th grade by 3.3%. The state average decreased at each of those levels as well. 

Science scores showed mixed results. Elementary science increased slightly, maintaining and adding to strong gains from the previous year. The number of 8th grade students meeting or exceeding the standard decreased by 7.7%, losing some of the 12% increase from the previous year. High school remained essentially flat with a slight decrease in those meeting the standard.

The largest area of disappointment was high school writing scores. They declined by over 30% from among the highest in the metro area to slightly above the state average. We are concerned and surprised by the drop in our scores. We take pride in the fact that our writing scores are always near the top of large metro area high schools. Our approach to teaching writing has remained the same.  The only thing that changed was the testing format and procedures. 

We moved to administering the writing exam electronically this year instead of the traditional paper and pencil version; we have learned that nearly all districts have seen a significant drop in their scores when switching to an electronic administration. There were several compounding procedural issues related to test administration as well. We have already examined and revised our writing testing procedures for this year. We believe this is a one year drop in our scores.

We have plans in place for each student who did not pass the writing exam to remain on track for graduation. Like our writing scores, our graduation rates have also been among the highest in the state.

The District made several strategic and targeted investments for the 2013-14 school year through our Achievement Compact. 

We invested in math labs at the elementary level to provide additional support for students struggling in math. The District made a similar investment in math labs at the middle level three years ago and they are one factor in the strong improvement in math scores at that level.

We also invested resources at the middle schools to fund training for content area teachers to teach reading and writing as it relates to their subject areas. The new Common Core State Standards include required reading and writing standards for social studies, science, and Career and Technical Education. We increased our investments in middle school instructional coaches to facilitate this professional development.

The District also invested in professional development for teachers at all levels and an online reading program for struggling readers at the middle level. These investments are targeted at areas of concern based on our data.

“Although our scores continue to place us among the strongest schools in the metro area, there are certainly areas where improvement is needed,” said Superintendent Heather Cordie. “Our dedicated team of administrators, teachers, and classified staff is hard at work in our continuous strive for improvement.”

For more information, contact the Chief Academic Officer's Office at 503-825-5011.