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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Thurston County eighth-graders middling on state tests

by Matt Rosenberg March 14th, 2013

In 2012, pass rates on the eighth-grade state achievement test exceeded the state average of 56.6 in four of nine Thurston County School Districts, and were lower in the other five. The best pass rate on that test among the county’s districts was in Olympia, where 66.9 percent of eighth-graders met the state performance standard in math. Three of the five districts which underperformed the state average on this metric had markedly low pass rates. They were Yelm, 39.2 percent; Tenino, 39.4; and Centralia, 43.8 percent. The Centralia, Yelm and Rochester districts include parts of neighboring counties.

The data come from the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and are viewable through customized visualizations users can create with the Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) developed by the Center for Education Data and Research at the University of Washington-Bothell. The first visualization below portrays the eighth grade state math test pass rates for Thurston County districts versus the state average. They are ranked on the right by 2012 outcomes, but by hovering over any district’s name, the seven-year history for the chosen metric can be tracked.

On the eighth grade state reading achievement test, five of nine Thurston school districts outperformed the state average in 2012 and four underperformed it.

Public Data Ferret’s Education archive

By clicking on “Explore The Data” in the lower right-hand corner of either of the above charts, you can enter the WADE interface at Google Public Data Explorer and devise a customized report from the state data, choosing different measures, grades and districts. Demographic data for each district or school, which is often correlated with outcomes, is also available. Among other features, Google Public Data Explorer provides customized HTML embed code for each data set that is constructed by users. This can be used to easily create charts like those displayed here, for Web sites or blogs. You can also enter the WADE interface, with a tutorial, through the the UW-Bothell/CEDR gateway.

Some previous reports we’ve generated here recently have compared statewide eighth-grade pass rates on the state math and reading tests with results from among major urban region school districts in Washington; and between districts in Pierce, in Snohomish and in King counties. We also examined trends in statewide average pass rates in math and reading for all K-12 grades which take the tests.

Editor’s Note: some of the general explanatory verbiage in this article was borrowed from our own above-linked articles.


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.

WA achievement test pass rates mostly stagnant since 2006

by Matt Rosenberg March 11th, 2013


Recently updated state data packaged into customizable visualizations through the University of Washington-Bothell’s Center For Education Data and Research and its Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) tool show that for third, fourth, fifth, eighth and tenth-graders in Washington, average statewide pass rates on state achievement tests in math and reading have been either relatively flat or down between 2006 and 2012. Pass rates on the state tests have grown for sixth and seventh-graders. A series of visualizations follow; as we mine the OSPI/WADE data on statewide pass rate progress for all grades taking the tests. By clicking on “Explore Data” in any of the visualizations, users can enter WADE’s Google Public Data Explorer interface and add in other school districts to compare results to the statewide data.

Some previous reports we’ve generated here recently have compared statewide eighth-grade pass rates on the state math and reading tests with results from among major urban region school districts statewide; and from districts in Pierce, Snohomish and King counties. Now we’ll dive in to the state average pass rate results by grade – and progress, if any – from 2006 through 2012. Hover over the graph line for exact rates by year.

Most Snohomish Districts Lag On State Reading Tests In 8th

by Matt Rosenberg March 7th, 2013

Of 13 Snohomish County school districts reporting results, eighth-graders in eight of them in 2012 lagged the state average in percent who could pass the state achievement test in reading. In math, seven of the 13 districts fell below the state average in percent of eighth-graders who could pass the state achievement test. Snohomish districts outperforming the state average in eighth-grade pass rates for both math and reading in 2012 were Northshore, Everett, Arlington and Mukilteo. Districts underperforming the state on both eighth-grade measures last year were Monroe, Marysville, Edmonds, Stanwood, Darrington and Lakewood. Three other districts exceed the state average in eighth-grade acievement test pass rates for one subject but not both: Granite Falls, Lake Stevens and Snohomish. Two related data visualizations follow, below.

Troubles for most Pierce County school districts in 8th grade

by Matt Rosenberg March 3rd, 2013

By a rate of more than two-to-one, public school districts in Pierce County last year underperformed the statewide average for percentage of eighth-graders who could pass Washington’s math achievement test. A majority of districts also lagged the statewide average in percent of eighth-graders who passed Washington’s reading achievement test. Using the Google Public Data Explorer tool and an interface developed by the Center for Education Research and Data of the University of Washington-Bothell, we run two related visualizations incorporating recently-released 2012 data and corollary outcomes dating back to 2006, in math and reading for all 17 Pierce County school districts.

Explore latest K-12 achievement data with UW tool

by Matt Rosenberg February 25th, 2013

Using the Google Public Data Explorer tool, we run two visualizations from recently-released 2012 data on percent of eighth graders meeting the Washington state achievement test passing standard in math, and reading, at 26 selected urban-region districts. In each case, half the districts exceed statewide average performance and half don’t. See custom charts, below. Top performers on the eighth-grade state math achievement test – among districts we examined – were Bellevue, Lake Washington, Port Angeles, Everett, and Olympia. The lowest performers for the same measure in 2012 were the East Valley district near Yakima, plus Yakima, Tacoma, Pasco and Longview. State academic achievement tests data for 2012 have recently been added to the user-friendly, interactive Washington Achievement Data Explorer (WADE) database operated by the Center for Education Data and Research (CEDR) at the University of Washington in Bothell. WADE is integrated with and can be explored using tools from Google Public Data Explorer.

At the WADE site, users can select school districts to compare for achievement test outcomes by grade and subject. Demographic data for each district, which is often correlated with outcomes, is also available. The data come from the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Among other features, Google Public Data Explorer provides customized HTML embed code for each data set that is constructed by users. Following are two charts developed by Public Data Ferret using the WADE site.

First are eighth-grade “meeting the math standard” rates for the 26 selected urban-region school districts in Washington state, from 2006 through 2012. They are ranked on the right by 2012 outcomes, but by hovering over any district’s name, its seven-year history for the metric chosen can be tracked.

Next, for the same 26 districts, are the 2012 rankings and seven-year histories of percent of eighth graders meeting the state standard on the reading achievement test.

Public Data Ferret’s Education archive

By clicking on “Explore The Data” in the lower right-hand corner of either of the above charts, you can enter the WADE interface at Google Public Data Explorer and devise a customized report from the state data, choosing different measures and districts. You can also enter the WADE interface, with a tutorial through the the UW-Bothell/CEDR gateway.


Public Data Ferret is a news knowledge base program of the 501c3 public charity, Public Eye Northwest. Ferret In The News. Donate; subscribe (free)/volunteer.



House bill would ease high school graduation requirements

by Matt Rosenberg January 31st, 2013

The Washington State House Education Committee this week took initial testimony on a bill that would lighten the state academic assessment testing load for students, and ease related high school graduation requirements. Since 2008, to graduate from a public high school Washington state students have had to pass High School Proficiency Exams, or HSPEs, in reading and writing, with a math End-of-Course (EOC) state assessment to be added to the mix for 2013. By 2015, under current state law, they will also have to pass a second state math EOC each year and a biology EOC to qualify for graduation. But the sponsor of House Bill 1015, Rep. John McCoy, (D-38), and array of educators who testified in support of it this week, believe all this gobbles up too much time and money, provokes too much anxiety for students, and accomplishes little else.

Smaller classes no panacea, Washington report finds

by Matt Rosenberg January 13th, 2013

In a new report for Washington state lawmakers pressed to meet a state Supreme Court mandate to better fund K-12 public education, the state’s own policy analysis unit has found that 10 percent class size reductions provide only a very modest gain in key student performance measures in early grades and nearly none in middle- and high-school. This comes not long after similar news from the same source that 10 percent bumps in K-12 spending also have limited bang-for-buck. A broader, related state study will report later this year on whether pinpointing new K-12 money to teacher effectiveness training gets better results.