There were no substantial changes on student academic achievement on standardized tests in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, according to the release of the 2016-2017 Smarter Balanced test scores Sept. 14.
Smarter Balanced is a state assessment system given at the end of the year to grades 3-8 and 11 to indicate whether or not students are ready for college or the workplace. Scoring a 3 or 4 means the student is on track, whereas a 1 or 2 shows a need for help.
The tests are then categorized by state, district and individual school scores, as well as subgroups such as minorities and students with disabilities. The federal government sets a target of testing 95 percent of all students in each category to ensure the data is well-represented. However, not all schools and districts reached the target participation rate this year, which would provide the most accurate data.
When comparing the WL-WV School District with the state, the percentage of students on track exceeded state averages, in some categories by as much as 29 percent. About 68 percent of students received a level 3 or 4, and the district showed an increase in six areas and decrease in 10 across grade levels and subjects.
When looking at three other comparably sized districts, WL-WV received the second highest scores when comparing English third and eighth grades, math fifth and 11th grades, and science fifth and 11th grades. District third-graders scored about 24 percent higher than those in the Oregon City School District in English.
Individual schools showed a more precise breakdown. For example, West Linn High School increased from last year in every subject for each grade, while Wilsonville High School decreased. It's important to note each grade level had different children than the year before.
To get the full picture, students need to be accessed in multiple ways, like with other tests and their schoolwork, to measure success. Smarter Balance is only one of these systems.