Test results show strengths, weaknesses


The release of the spring 2012 state standards exams last week show community students making strong gains in some areas, while also highlighting areas of improvement in some grades.

The Measurements of Student Progress, the state exam given in elementary and middle school, tests student achievement in reading, writing, math and science. At the high school level, students take the High School Proficiency Exam in reading and writing, with two end-of-course exams in math now given as a graduation requirement. A new end-of-course exam in biology is now available, and will be a graduation requirement starting with the class of 2015.

The state exams provide a snapshot of student achievement at the time they are administered, but are not the only assessment used to measure student academic growth. Districts use other assessments throughout the year to measure individual student progress. A student who might be struggling to meet standards on the state exams may have demonstrated growth in those subjects throughout the year.


Berney Elementary students saw scores improve from last year in all areas except fourth-grade reading and fifth-grade math. Third-grade reading and math, and fifth grade science scores made notable increases from 2011 results. About 75 percent of third-graders met the math assessment, and 70 percent passed the math exam. About 66 percent of fifth-graders met the science assessment, in line with the state average.

Blue Ridge

Blue Ridge Elementary continued to demonstrate academic achievement following bold interventions that have included a new dual-language program to support English language learners, and a “platooning” model of learning in older grades that offers more instruction in core subjects like math and science.

Blue Ridge students made significant gains in all subjects and all grades tested, with the exception of fourth-grade writing scores, which saw a slight drop following an increase from 2010 to 2011.

Third-grade math and fifth-grade reading scores nearly doubled from last year, with 63.3 percent of third-graders meeting math standard, and 78.3 percent of fifth-graders meeting reading.


Edison Elementary third-graders scored higher than last year in its assessments, while fourth-graders held steady scores in reading and writing compared to past years. Fifth-graders saw the biggest slip in math scores compared to last year’s class, with about 28 percent meeting standard compared to 57 percent last year. Fifth-grade science scores have greatly improved from two years ago, with about a third of students passing compared to 12 percent in 2010.

Green Park

Green Park students also saw improvements in scores from last year, with a slight dip in fourth-grade reading and fifth-grade math. Fifth-grade reading scores are just above the state average, with nearly 72 percent passing compared to the state and district average of 71. Fifth-graders also did well in science, with 66 percent meeting standard.

Fourth-grade students have had steady growth in math scores the last two years. Third-graders performed above the state average in math, with 70 percent passing, and reading, with 75 percent.

Prospect Point

Prospect Point students saw scores continue to improve from past years, with the only dip in fourth-grade math. About 66 percent of fourth-graders met the math standard this year, compared to 76 percent last year. The score, although a drop, is still higher than the district average of 46 percent and the state average of 59 percent. Fourth-graders also shined in the writing assessment, with 87 percent meeting standard.

Close to 88 percent of fifth-graders met the science standard, and about 86 percent passed the reading assessment.


Sharpstein Elementary students made their biggest gains in fifth-grade science, reflecting an overall district trend, and also in fifth-grade reading and third-grade math. Fourth-grade writing scores were steady from past year, at close to 59 percent meeting standard, and reading, with 61 percent passing. Both the fourth- and fifth-grade math passing rate dropped from past years.


At Garrison Middle School, passing rates for reading, writing and math have held steady from the last two years, with slight fluctuations in the percentage of students passing. Eighth-grade science scores have shown two years of increases, with nearly 72 percent of students meeting the standard.

All students who took the end-of-course exam exams in algebra and geometry passed.


Pioneer Middle School students have also met standards at similar rates to the last two years, with some drops and increases. Notably, seventh-grade reading scores improved from a 37 percent passing rate last year to 60 percent this year. The math passing rate for seventh-graders shows a decrease from past years, to about 34 percent passing.

In the eighth-grade, however, the math passing rate is 55 percent this year, in line with the state average.

Pioneer students who took the math EOC exams in algebra and geometry also passed at 100 percent.

Walla Walla High School

Walla Walla High School students posted strong results in its 2012 exams, with scores above the state average and an on-time graduation rate of 92 percent. The class of 2014 is on track to meeting its graduation requirements in reading, writing and math, with 86 percent passing reading and 90 percent passing writing. About 77 percent of algebra students passed the EOC exam, while close to 75 percent passed the geometry test.


Lincoln students made strides in meeting reading and writing standards in 2012. Close to 65 percent of students passed the reading assessment, and nearly 66 percent met the writing standard.

Students taking the EOC exams in algebra passed at a rate of 25 percent, while close to 55 percent passed the EOC geometry exam. All results reflect growth from the previous school year.

About 21 percent of students also met the new biology EOC exam. Lincoln students also made gains in getting students diplomas, with an extended graduation rate of nearly 70 percent for the class of 2010, up from 13 percent four years ago, the district reported.


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