Local schools make the grade on state test scores, graduation rates

Every school in the Lake Oswego School District received the highest rating on state report cards released Thursday by Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton.

Student achievement on state reading and math tests, growth in student achievement, participation on reading and math and graduation or attendance rates collectively determine a school’s overall designation on the report card — outstanding, satisfactory or in need of improvement.

The 12 Lake Oswego schools rated on the state report card for 2011-12 were among 364 schools, or 31 percent of a total of 1,155 schools rated, which were deemed outstanding.

Riverdale High School received an outstanding rating, while Riverdale Grade School was deemed in need of improvement.

Bryant and Uplands elementary schools are now closed as part of Scenario B, the Lake Oswego School Board plan for school closures and reconfiguration, but they were rated because they were still open during the 2011-12 school year. Lakeridge Junior High was rated under its former name, Waluga, because the school board did not change it until 2012-13.

In 2011-12, only 8.1 percent of Lake Oswego students were not meeting state expectations in reading and 10.2 percent were not meeting in math. Of all students, 99.5 percent participated in the math assessment and 99.6 percent participated in the reading assessment. The high school graduation rate for the expected class of 2011 was 86.6 percent at Lakeridge and 87.4 percent at Lake Oswego.

At the state level, as in the LOSD, changes abound. In July, Oregon became the 32nd state to be granted a Federal Flexibility Waiver by the U.S. Department of Education. This gave Oregon the ability to tailor mechanisms of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, better known as No Child Left Behind, to create a new, more accountable and responsive system. As part of the waiver, the state proposed designing a new state report card. After this year the school report cards will be redesigned to provide better information to parents and communities on how students, schools and districts are doing (the timing of the waiver approval did not allow for a redesign to occur before this year’s report card release).

This fall and winter, a statewide online survey will seek feedback on the changes people would like to see made to these reports and focus groups consisting of administrators, educators, parents and students will make recommendations on the design process. A report card steering committee will meet regularly over the coming months and present a final recommendation to the Oregon Department of Education in late February.

Working toward the goal that by the year 2025, 100 percent of Oregonians will earn at least a high school diploma, this year the ODE has shifted its attention from academic performance to tangible growth from one year to the next in terms of state test scores and high school graduation rates. This emphasis on margin of improvement will likely be integrated into the new state report cards.

LOSD Superintendent Bill Korach said that he was proud and not surprised that Lake Oswego schools were rated so highly on the 2011-12 report card, but also that he is keeping things in perspective.

“The ratings are what they usually are,” he said. “Those are still ratings based on performance, not the new growth system.”

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