Collaboration in Civic Spheres

Data viz: Seattle public schools “pass rates” on state tests

by Mike Klaczynski May 15th, 2013

To graduate from a public high school in Washington, students in the classes of 2013 and 2014 must pass the state’s High School Proficiency Exam (HSPE) in reading and writing and an End-Of-Course (EOC) test in either algebra or geometry. Starting in 2015 those requirements will grow to include EOCs in algebra and geometry, and biology. State assessment tests called the Measurement of Student Progress (MSP) are also given in grades three through eight to help students, parents, teachers and administrators assess academic progress and adjust teaching methods and curriculum as deemed necessary. For non-special education students, passing the regular tests requires a grade of Level 3 (proficient) or Level 4 (advanced). Using Washington state data on achievement tests taken and passed in math and reading in different Seattle public schools across different grade levels, we developed the following interactive data visualization. Explore it to see how neighborhood public schools rate, compared to others in the district.

USER INSTRUCTIONS
1) Make your selections. Under “choose grade,” use the pull-down menu to select a type of school (elementary, K-8, middle, high). Using the “compare schools” tool select one school, or all schools within that category, or a custom combination of schools. Under “choose a test,” select either math or reading.

2) Explore the data. Here’s an example. By choosing all elementary schools and state reading test pass rates, you can: a) get a quick comparative overview via a mouse-over of any school’s dot on the map. You’ll see a pop-up box summary for each dot over which you hover, with a combined multi-year pass rate in the chosen subject, and relative ranking versus peer schools within the district; b) drill in to a school’s data by clicking on its map dot. Then you will have two more views of the data – above to the left (percent low-income and not, plus total number of tests taken); and below (yearly results by grade, subject and income group, versus district averages).

Additional technical notes:

  • Aggregate pass rates for schools were calculated by the author using number of tests passed versus number taken, from the state’s data because the state’s own pass rates for some schools in some subjects did not match the data.
  • Pass rate data for some schools in some years are not available because it was not included in the state’s datasets.
  • “Low-income” students are currently defined by the state as those eligible for free or reduced-price school meals.
  • The state high school math assessment test was not offered in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years because it was being redesigned.
  • In 2008 and prior, the equivalent of the MSP, HSPE and EOC tests was called the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL.
  • RELATED: FAQs on state testing from Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction; additional information on who must take what when, and alternative tests.


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