Scores on Washington state’s exams in reading, writing, math and science remained essentially the same as a year ago, with some ups and downs, but few big ones.
In releasing this year’s scores, Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn stressed that they have improved significantly over the past decade, but said that the year-over-year results were flat.
The picture was a little different from last fall, when the percentage of students who passed state science and math tests rose, but reading scores declined at some grade levels.
Dorn also announced the test results for the class of 2013, the first group of high school seniors that had to pass a math exam or approved alternative to graduate. About 90 percent of those seniors passed state reading, writing and at least one state math exam, or alternatives. Only about 3 percent failed to meet the state math requirement. Those numbers did not count about 3,000 students who dropped out before 12th grade.
All Washington students in grades 3-8 take state math and reading exams each spring, and writing exams are given in grades 4, 7 and 10. Students in grades 5 and 8 also take science exams, and high-school students take end-of-course exams in algebra, geometry and biology.
This is the third year that the state has given the tests known as the Measures of Academic Progress (MSP) and the High School Proficiency Exams (HSPE), which replaced longer tests known as the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL). The high-school end-of-course exams were introduced two years ago, replacing a 10th grade math exam that covered both algebra and geometry.
Plans call for many of those tests will be replaced again as the state phases in new exams over the next several years that reflect a new set of learning standards known as the Common Core. Washington is among the states that has pledged to use those new learning standards, which cover reading and math.