Eleventh-graders outperform state in math and English Language Arts, five pilot schools for math curriculum also demonstrate meaningful gains

While Salem-Keizer Public Schools (SKPS) students start off behind their peers across the state on assessment tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and math, cohorts of students demonstrate significant growth, and by 11th grade, students are outperforming their peers across the state, according to data released today from the Oregon Department of Education.

In ELA, cohorts of students average 3.4 percentage points in growth each year between third and eighth grades. In 2017-18, 11th-graders scored 2.3 percentage points higher than their peers across the state.

“We focus on helping our students grow,” said Director of Strategic Initiatives Linda Myers. “We know how they perform on one test, one year doesn’t define our children. With this growth, we’re seeing that the work we’re doing with a focus on elementary core instruction and new intervention courses at the secondary level is truly working. Without question, the Every Day 24J attendance campaign will have an impact when our students are in class more and are exposed to more lessons.”

Another such initiative is Ready Math, the math curriculum for elementary students. It was launched as a pilot with five schools and is being implemented districtwide this year. Students at the five pilot schools – Highland, Keizer, Morningside, Scott and Salem Heights Elementaries – demonstrated higher levels of proficiency in the math assessments.

For example, fifth-graders at Highland scored 6.5 percentage points higher on the math assessment than students the previous year. Highland third-graders performed 7 percentage points higher. At Keizer, fifth-graders performed 4.3 percentage points higher than the previous year’s assessments. At Morningside, third-graders tallied a 12.6 percentage point jump. Scott’s fifth-graders also demonstrated significant improvement, performing 9.4 percentage points higher than the previous year. Salem Heights’ fifth-graders’ proficiency grew by 3.8 percentage points over the previous year.

“We’ve been so pleased with the math curriculum and what it’s helped our children achieve,” said Keizer Elementary Principal Christine Bowlby. “Our children are excited to learn, and we have such talented educators – this curriculum aligns those talents and energies, and we’re experiencing real growth. We couldn’t be more proud.”

Cohorts of students also demonstrated growth in math through the middle school years. At the high-school level, student performance mirrored that of ELA. In SKPS, 37.6 percent of students scored a 3 or 4 on the assessments, as compared to 33.2 percent statewide.

Superintendent Christy Perry celebrated the growth, but also acknowledged that there is room to do better: “Our students are more than just numbers on an assessment. They are young people who speak more than 60 languages at home and bring a multitude of experiences – some wonderful and some incredibly difficult – with them when they come to school. We remain committed to each and every child so they can graduate prepared for successful lives. We will continue to create educational experiences with high-quality educators who engage and support our students so the growth we’ve seen with these assessments will become success at all levels.”

Students are also assessed in science in fifth, eighth and 11th grades. While SKPS students perform slightly lower than their peers across the state, curriculum access will be expanded with the addition of state-of-the art science spaces at middle and high schools thanks to the 2018 bond measure.

You can view full results on ODE’s Assessment Group Reports site.