WLHS, Rosemont Ridge, Athey Creek miss mark for math, reading test scores

Dipping from previous years, achievement in three West Linn schools is not on track with meeting federal goals by 2014, which are measured by the Oregon's Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) benchmarks. However, in a year with heightened state standards, the majority of West Linn students are still showing signs of growth. Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, AYP benchmarks are getting higher for all students, meaning that if even a few students cannot meet the standards, the whole school is given a 'not met' grade.

West Linn High School, Rosemont Ridge Middle School and Athey Creek Middle School missed the benchmark in their math and reading test scores among students with disabilities.

Notably, students with limited English proficiency and students of Hispanic origin at Wilsonville High School and Inza Woods Middle School did not meet all benchmarks, although Wilsonville High School received a 'met' this year overall. The Arts and Technology High School received a 'not met' overall. All of the districts primary schools met AYP standards.

'One of the challenges is communicating to our community and the parent community what this means. No one likes to see a 'not yet meets,'' said board chair Dale Hoogestraat.

'It's not as simple as a red or green box,' said board vice chair Keith Steele during the school board meeting on Monday night.  'When you look at the details, you see a lot of growth in all areas… with only a few exceptions.'

The only time the WL-WV school district has met the academic achievement ratings was in 2002 when the NCLB first became law. Since then, there have been repeated shortfalls in the special education category.

Under Oregon's AYP plan for 2010-11, 70 percent of all students in public schools were required to reach state benchmarks in reading and mathematics. For the 2011-2012 year, 80 percent of students must reach benchmarks.

To meet AYP, public schools must meet these annual performance targets for both the overall student population and for any demographic group within the school that includes 42 or more students.

These demographic groups include: socioeconomic status, English proficiency, race/ethnicity and special education. Schools must also meet a participation target and an attendance or graduation target to meet overall AYP standards.

'Each of these designations is defined by a complex algorithm of factors,' explained Deputy Superintendent Jane Stickney.

For the WL-WV school district as a whole, the dive in achievement could be a bit misleading. Students with disabilities only slightly improved their scores from last year but still missed the benchmark at both the middle level and high school. Additionally, the district is held accountable for students living in the WL-WV school district - such as homeschoolers or alternative placement students.

When one takes out the subgroup requirement, the district's students actually improved on their scores from last year. Sixty-nine percent of last year's high school students hit the target for math scores, while nearly 80 percent reached the target this year. Likewise, the percentage of high school students meeting reading requirements jumped from 85 percent to 92 percent.

Statewide, 54 percent - 684 of 1270 - of Oregon schools met AYP standards, compared to 71 percent in 2009-10.

'With increased federal and state expectations, we are seeing fewer schools meeting AYP targets this year, but we know from recently released test results student achievement is on the rise,' said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo. 'We are not yet where we need to be, but students are making strong gains toward meeting that higher bar and that is a testament to the passion and dedication of Oregon's teachers and administrators.'

To see the AYP results visit: htttp://www. .

Making the grade

Each year, the Oregon Department of Education releases results on three different benchmark metrics. They are:

* The statewide assessment test - the results of which were released two weeks ago.

The report gives a detailed look at the assessment tests in reading, writing, mathematics and science. The assessment tests analyze improvement in various subgroups as a part of the AYP report released each fall.

* The AYP, of which a preliminary report was released in early August.  No Child Left Behind requires 100 percent of students to meet state standards by 2014 and requires schools to meet growth targets each year. The AYP report is meant to identify schools in need of improvement, especially those serving a high percentage of children in poverty and receiving federal funds under Title I. Schools receiving Title I funds that do not meet AYP targets for two consecutive years are required to make additional corrective actions.

* And the final document will incorporate all of the results in the state report card released in late fall. The report card is released apart from federal requirements, and the state intends it to be the most complete look at how a school is doing. Other data included is attendance, SAT scores and graduation rates.

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