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Oregon Trail's federal, state assessments differ

The Oregon Department of Education released report cards for the state's school districts and schools and Oregon Trail School District (OTSD) schools maintained similar ratings in the 2005-06 school year to the previous year.

'There is good information on here because it looks back a few years,' said Julia Monteith, district communications director. 'We can make comparisons and see if there's growth.'

The report card noted that in terms of academic performance, all schools in the district maintained last year's ratings, except Welches Elementary School, which showed improvement. Improvement is based on changes in performance on statewide reading and math knowledge and skills assessments, attendance rates and dropout rates from 2001-02 to 2005-06.

All 10 district schools received 'exceptional' rankings under 'School Characteristics,' which refers to the number of eligible students who participated in the 2005-06 statewide assessments.

Kelso and Welches elementary schools showed improvement in 'overall' rating from the previous year, while one school, Sandy Grade School, showed a decline in that category. All other schools showed no change in their overall rating.

School officials noted that the state report card is only one way that the district assesses progress.

'The assessment is just one piece of how we judge how well a school or students are doing,' Monteith said. "There's a lot more that we look at.'

In August, the district received its rating from the federal government - the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) report - which said schools did not meet the standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act.

No schools in the district were identified for improvement measures, for corrective action or restructuring in either the AYP findings or the statewide assessment.

In the AYP findings, 75.07 percent of elementary school students, 58.2 percent of middle school students and 51.7 percent of high school students in the district met the English and Language Arts requirement. In the statewide assessment, which tested students in grades 3, 5, 8, and 10, 64.3 percent of the students met or exceeded the state standard.

The AYP findings showed that 96.26 percent of elementary school students, 67.82 percent of middle school students and 39.58 percent of high school students in the district met the math knowledge and skills requirement. In the statewide assessment, 70.7 percent of the students tested met or exceeded the state standard.

According to Monteith, the latest SAT score averages for Sandy High School students were 526 in the verbal section and 530 in math, two points higher in each area compared to state averages. On the national level, noted Monteith, those scores are 18 points higher in verbal and 10 points higher in math.

'Our kids are doing well, and just looking at the SAT scores, we're the highest in Clackamas County, and we're proud of that,' said Clementina Salinas, district superintendent. 'Our kids are taking a 10th grade math test (for statewide assessment) that does not necessarily reflect where they are. They may not be at Algebra II (level) in the 10th grade.'

Salinas maintained that she is not concerned about the results from the high school tests and that those students have progressed. She also predicted strong finishes for district students the next time the assessments are given.

'I'm predicting that our writing scores are going to be lot higher,' Salinas said. 'This is the third year of the writing process in the new curriculum. You should see a pretty darn good outcome.'


The percentage of students in the Oregon Trail School District at the indicated grades who met or exceeded state standards on Oregon Statewide Assessments during the 2005-06 school year, with statewide averages in parentheses:

Reading Knowledge and Skills

Grade 3: 93% (90%)

Grade 5: 92% (86%)

Grade 8: 62% (68%)

Grade 10: 53% (57%)

Math Knowledge and Skills

Grade 3: 94% (88%)

Grade 5: 93% (87%)

Grade 8: 63% (68%)

Grade 10: 53% (57%)