Collaboration in Civic Spheres

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.

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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.


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