The results are in and Estacada High School Principal Scott Sullivan and Vice Principal Ryan Carpenter couldn’t be happier.

Each year every 11th-grader in Oregon is tested on reading, writing, math and science.

In order to graduate high school, students must test at a certain proficiency level in reading, writing and math in Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests.

Last year, 76.9 percent of Estacada High School juniors met or exceeded the state requirements in math and 90.2 percent met or exceeded the state requirements in reading. This is a spike from the 2011-12 scores; when 68.8 percent met or exceeded the math test and 90 percent met or exceeded the reading test.

The writing and science scores for 2012-13 weren’t quite as impressive, with 66 percent of Estacada High School students meeting or exceeding in science and 58.4 percent meeting or exceeding in writing.

Sullivan and Carpenter have drawn up a flier that compares Estacada’s scores to the scores of schools that Estacada competes against in the Trivalley Conference sporting events. They also list rival Sandy High School’s scores.

Estacada is the “league champion” in reading and math — and beat Sandy High School.

Sullivan lists off high schools that Estacada High beat with their math scores: Benson, Beaverton, Tualatin, Liberty, Summit...

“We feel like this is a validation of four years of hard work in this proficiency system,” Carpenter said. “We strongly believe it’s this philosophy and this method that’s made us able to make these gains.”

Sullivan explained that four years ago, the high school adopted a learning-based education model rather than a teaching-based model.

Under a teaching-based model, he explained the goal is to simply cover and get through the material. But since everyone learns at a different speed, this wasn’t the most effective way to foster all students’ understanding of the material.

Under the proficiency model, the high school administration has made several changes.

For example, students’ schedules include “Flex Fridays” where struggling students are given more time and attention with subjects that challenge them or students that breeze through regular classroom curriculum are given an opportunity to pursue subjects they may not otherwise have had school time to explore.

“Learning is the constant and time is the variable,” Carpenter said. “We believe every student has the ability to learn and meet the requirements. They just all do it in a different time frame.”

When Carpenter told the school board of the impressive math and reading scores on Wednesday, Sept. 11, the room broke out in applause.

School Board member Ralph Branson warned the room not to be shocked when reading the Oregonian’s assessment of the state scores.

In the Oregonian’s coverage of the tests, the newspaper has typically assumed a district-wide approach to the results.

When viewing the test results by district, Estacada High School’s scores will be assessed alongside the Web Academy, Early College and former Alternative High School at the Timberlake Job Corps.

With this view, the scores have appeared considerably lower.

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