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November 16, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Annual report shows Seattle schools slightly improving, still have long way to go

An annual report released by Seattle Public Schools on Wednesday showed the district is making slow progress toward most of its goals, although the achievement gap between students in wealthy neighborhoods and those in poorer areas remained high.

The results – which included standardized testing scores, graduation rates and attendance numbers – marked a stark contrast from last year’s discouraging report, which showed many students were falling further behind state standards.

This year, the district made up for those losses in many areas.

Seventy-nine percent of 3rd graders passed the state’s reading test last spring, an increase from 75 percent the year before. Sixty-six percent of 7th graders passed the state’s math test, an increase from 64 percent. And 53 percent of 10th graders passed the state’s science test, an increase from 47 percent.

The number of students graduating from high school in four years or less increased from 67 percent to 73 percent.

In all, the district improved on 18 of its 23 goals and is now performing better than in 2008 in 14 of those areas.

But it wasn’t all good news: The district performed worse this year in a handful of categories, including the percent of students prepared for a 4-year college (61 percent this year compared to 63 the year before). And the improvements that did occur were small, leaving the district unlikely to meet many of its goals by 2013, the year it had targeted.

Plus, the district has made little progress toward its oft-mentioned achievement gap – the difference in test scores and other data between white students in rich neighborhoods and students of color in poorer neighborhoods. In one notable case, the gap is growing even larger at an alarming rate – Native American students were the only group that showed across-the-board decreases in test scores.

Interim Superintendent Susan Enfield presented the data, compiled in a district scorecard, during a news conference with Mayor Mike McGinn and other city officials at Wing Luke Museum.

The scorecard, now available on the district’s website, was released for the second year in conjunction with an annual ranking of schools by test scores and other data.

Comments | More in Education | Topics: Mike McGinn, scorecard, Seattle Public Schools

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