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State Test Results Show Promising Trends

4J sees overall stability with gains at high school, especially in math 

The state recently released the 2013–14 OAKS state assessment results. We’re seeing some very encouraging signs of returns on our investments in high school, especially in math. We’re also seeing the impacts of a very short school year and high class sizes at the lower grade levels.

Relative stability in a challenging time

During an extremely challenging year, we maintained relative stability in student performance across the district. 4J’s total passing rate held steady, as did the state’s.

4J students continue to outperform the Oregon average in every grade and every subject. Our individual students’ learning also grows more from year to year than average for our state.

Significant improvement in high school achievement

Even more promising, we saw significant progress in high school achievement, where we have been investing additional attention and resources in recent years, including:

  • Providing full schedules for more high school students, including all ninth graders
  • Changing to a more flexible and efficient common schedule at all high schools
  • Better aligning math curriculum across school levels and to the new state standards
  • Embedding AVID teaching and learning strategies in high school classrooms
  • Increasing STEM learning opportunities (science, technology, engineering, math)
  • Better targeting resources to our neediest schools using the school needs index

Overall, more of our high school students met standards in 2013–14 than the year before. The largest gains were in math. 4J high schools’ math and reading results improved more than in our neighboring districts or the state, and likewise more of our high school students met standards in every subject. Achievement gaps narrowed in both math and reading for nearly every demographic group of students in our high schools.

The road ahead

We are still not where we want to be, and scores dropped at some levels and schools that faced particular challenges. And, while all of our groups of students outperform similar groups statewide in every subject, we continue to have persistent achievement gaps that mirror the gaps seen across the state and the nation.

Still, this year’s data overall is very promising. In every grade and every subject our students continue to beat the state average. And the high school data shows that our investments in high schools are beginning to pay off.

We have a lot more to do to help all students succeed as we move forward, including investing our limited resources in:

  • Reducing class sizes as much as possible. As a first step, we have strategically targeted board-approved additional teacher staffing to fix some of the most extreme class size situations this year.
  • Restoring school days. Students this year will have much more learning time than in recent years.
  • Providing professional development to enhance the instructional expertise of our teaching staff.
  • Fully implementing the Common Core State Standards that will better prepare our students to succeed in college and careers, and administering the new Smarter Balanced assessment of student learning that will provide more meaningful and valuable information to teachers, students and families about how students are making progress toward becoming college and career ready, all while reducing the amount of testing students undergo.

 

Slideshow: Overview of 4J OAKS Results for 2013–14

Learn More: Common Core State Standards

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