Wednesday, June 16, 2010

High school grad test scores hold steady

Randy Dorn, our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, just finished rolling out this year's statewide results for the High School Proficiency Exam.

Of the 69,142 12th grade students tested:
  • 94 percent passed the reading and writing sections
  • 69 percent passed math. The math scores have dropped a few percentage points in the past two years.
  • More than 20 percent of students met their math graduation requirement by earning two credits of math in 10th grade.
The class of 2013 will be the first required to pass reading, writing, math and science to graduate and won't have the option of graduating by earning extra math credits.

Dorn's opening remarks included a reminder that the scores only pertain to those students with enough credits to graduate. The results show relatively high passing rates for students who make it all the way through high school, but much work remains to reduce the drop-out rate and shrink the persistent achievement gap.

Dorn also expressed concern about the timing of the new end-of-course exams in algebra and geometry that next year's sophomores will have to complete. Most students complete Algebra I and Geometry in 8th and 9th grade, so next year's sophomores will be taking an end-of-course exam one or two years after completing the courses. Dorn is hoping the Legislature will adopt a fix for that. Passage of end-of-course exams in Algebra 1 and Geometry are graduation requirements for the classes of 2013 and beyond.

Dorn also remarked that while we're making gains in science scores, the fact is science is not taught on a daily basis in all grades the way reading, writing and math is. This is another issue the Legislature should address.

These slides provide more details. Scores for the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP), given to students in grades 3-8, will be available in late August.