Results underscore strengths, areas for improvement statewide and in LOSD

More Lake Oswego seventh-graders met or exceeded expectations on Oregon’s state assessments in reading in 2011-12 than the previous year despite raised achievement standards, according to state assessment results released Wednesday by the Oregon Department of Education.

In June 2011, the Oregon Board of Education adopted new reading achievement standards, increasing the level of reading students are expected to know in elementary and middle school to create better alignment between the lower grades and high school graduation requirements for reading.

Consistent with ODE’s prediction that the increased rigor of the new achievement standards would initially result in fewer students meeting expectations, in 2011-12 the percent of Lake Oswego students in grades 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 meeting or exceeding expectations dropped.

Ninety-five percent of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from Uplands Elementary School met or exceeded expectations, but it was closed at the end of last school year along with Bryant Elementary.

“When we look at school closures, that’s not something that we would consider because we don’t have schools that don’t perform well,” said Superintendent Bill Korach. “We make a decision about school closure with the assumption that all of our schools are outstanding and all of our schools have very strong results.”

Uplands students now attend Forest Hills, Oak Creek or Lake Grove. Bryant students now attend Westridge or River Grove. In 2011-12, River Grove sixth-graders accounted for the smallest percentage of students meeting or exceeding state standards in LOSD, a 17.1 percent drop from 94.4 percent the previous year.

In 2010-11, Oak Creek Elementary School third-graders accounted for the smallest percentage of students meeting or exceeding state reading standards in LOSD. This year, however, around 95 percent of third-graders there met or exceeded standards, the highest percentage in the district.

Third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders from Forest Hills, third- and fourth- graders from Lake Grove and third- and fourth-graders from Westridge elementary schools and students from Lake Oswego and Lakeridge high schools also achieved this highest percentage.

Reading standards for high school students remained the same from 2010-11 to 2011-12 and accordingly so did the percent of Lake Oswego high school students meeting state standards, around 94.8 percent.

This past year was also the first time students were tested on new standards for science adopted in 2009, including the addition of scientific inquiry and engineering design content and an overall focus on big ideas, with the 2011-12 state test featuring new test items and more problem-based constructed response items.

Unlike in reading, this year’s science results did not show an increase in student learning statewide. Likewise, the percent of Lake Oswego eighth-graders meeting or exceeding expectations was lower in 2011-12 than 2010-11 even if 2010-11 students had been tested according to the new expectations.

On the other hand, 1.7 percent more Lake Oswego fifth-graders (93.8 percent) met or exceeded science expectations in 2011-12 than 2010-11 (92.1 percent), a 3.9 percent increase compared to the percent of 2010-11 students who would have met the 2011-12 expectations (89.8 percent).

High school expectations for science remained the same and in 2011-12 there was a .3 percent increase in students meeting or exceeding expectations compared to the previous school year, from 90.8 percent in 2010-11 to 91.1 percent in 2011-12.

Of the seven grades tested in Lake Oswego, only one failed to experience an increase in percent meeting or exceeding state math expectations, with a 1.3 percent drop in student performance among sixth-graders from 90 percent in 2010-11 to 88.7 percent in 2011-12.

The Oregon Legislature eliminated the fourth- and seventh-grade writing tests last year, leaving just the 11th-grade writing assessment. While the percentage of students meeting standards on that test went down 1 percent statewide, Lake Oswego School District high school students experienced a 2.9 percent increase, from 89.9 percent in 2010-11 89.9 to 92.8 percent in 2011-12.

“I feel good about these scores,” Korach said. “For all the change that have been going on and all the focus that we had put on the structuring and closing and consolidating schools, obviously our students and our teachers and our parents stayed focused on what matters most: our kids and their performance.”

In 2011-12, nearly 1.5 million Oregon’s Assessment of Knowledge & Skills achievement tests were delivered through a computer-based test, OAKS Online, which provides students and teachers with immediate, detailed feedback on student performance and adapts to the level of difficulty most appropriate for each individual test taker.

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