Math scores up, science scores mixed for Whatcom County schools

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDAugust 26, 2013 

Test scores for Washington schools remained flat statewide, State Superintendent Randy Dorn said Monday, Aug. 26, as he released 2013 results in reading, writing, math and science.

"There's a little movement up, there's a little movement down," he said of the results for the standardized tests.

In Whatcom County, end-of-course math scores for high school students were up in all districts, while science scores were down for fifth-graders in all school districts but one.

The class of 2013 is the first to be required to pass a math end-of-course exam to graduate, and 92 percent have done so.

Scores from the Measurements of Student Progress, High School Proficiency Exam and "end of course" exams were released Monday. Individual student results will be sent to parents by mid- to late-September.

Students in grades 3 through 8 take the reading and math MSP, with select grades taking the writing and science tests.

High school students, generally in 10th grade, take the HSPE in reading and writing, and end-of-course tests in algebra, geometry and biology.

Results released Monday were for tests administered last school year.

Statewide, scores in math were mixed, with gains of 3.2 percentage points in fourth grade and 4.5 percentage points in seventh grade, but down a bit in other grades.

End-of-course exam results for math were up by more than nine points to 80.7 percent of students passing algebra and 89.4 percent passing geometry.

This year, each school district in Whatcom County increased its scores on the algebra exam, by 0.3 to 10.1 percentage points.

Geometry exam results also were up in each district, by 6.4 to 22.4 percentage points.

Those numbers don't count students who dropped out previously, and some of those seniors who met testing standards might not fulfill other requirements needed to graduate. The final on-time graduation rate won't be available until early next year.

Students graduating in 2013 or 2014 must pass at least one of the math end-of-course tests, along with the reading and writing HSPE exams, to graduate.

Science scores statewide were mixed: fifth-grade scores barely increased by 0.4 percentage points, while eighth grade scores were down by 1.4 points.

In Whatcom County, fifth-grade science scores were down in each district, except for Nooksack Valley, while eighth-grade scores were up in four districts (Bellingham, Blaine, Ferndale and Meridian).

As for the end-of-course exam for biology, 81.7 percent of students passed the test statewide. In Whatcom County, all school districts bested the state average in biology.

Statewide, reading and writing results improved overall.

The number of students who passed the reading tests was up, except for seventh and eighth grades. A highlight was the number of third-grade students who met the state standard for reading; that rate was up 4.2 percentage points to 73 percent - regaining a loss from the previous year.

In Whatcom County, reading results also were up for third-graders in all of the districts, with gains of 1.2 to 9.2 points. Reading results for other grades were mixed.

There was a slight uptick in writing scores statewide, with fourth-grade scores increasing by 1.5 percentage points and seventh-grade going up by 0.3 percentage points.

Whatcom County writing results were up and down, with Meridian School District posting the biggest gain for seventh-grade writing - up 28.6 percentage points to 83 percent meeting state standards.

SEE THE RESULTS

To see the results for Measurements of Student Progress, High School Proficiency Exams and end-of-course tests for districts and schools, go to and click on the "State Report Card" icon on the right side of the page. From there, you can select districts and individual schools in the scroll-down menu.

DETAILED BREAKDOWN COMING

An in-depth look at state test results, including a page of school-level comparison charts, will run in the Sunday, Sept. 1, issue of The Bellingham Herald.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com.

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