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The state found that just one in 10 Beaverton juniors were proficient in math, and one in five met English standards.

Beaverton School District saw a significant drop across the board for students' math and English skills last school year, compared to pre-pandemic averages.

According to new data released by the Oregon Department of Education, only one in 10 Beaverton 11th graders met math proficiency goals, and one in five met English language goals last school year.

Younger learners in Oregon's third largest school district are outpacing the state average for math and language arts, though they are still behind pre-pandemic proficiency.

The statewide report card, released yearly by ODE, contains data and statistics on the demographics, proficiency, and readiness of students in each district and school in Oregon.

While the latest data snapshot underscores the pandemic's impact on schools across the state, education leaders say they're better positioned to help students recover from the social, emotional and academic impacts of distance learning.

The report also shows the Beaverton School District is not immune to drops in enrollment felt by other districts across the state; and through the pandemic, the district's ninth graders continued to exceed state averages for being on track to graduate.

Math and English proficiency

PMG GRAPHIC - Beaverton School District elementary and middle schoolers were more proficient in English language arts than their peers statewide, while Beaverton School District high schoolers were below the Oregon average last school year.Beaverton elementary and middle schoolers are exceeding statewide averages for math and English language arts proficiency, but Beaverton high school students have some catching up to do.

One-fifth of juniors in the Beaverton School District, 19.4%, met English language arts standards in the 2021-22 school year. In the 2018-19 school year, the average was 57.5% in the district.

The pandemic prompted a dip statewide in English proficiency, an average still recovering through last school year. Less than half, 47%, of Oregon 11th graders were meeting language arts goal last school year.

PMG GRAPHIC - Beaverton School District elementary and middle schoolers outpaced math proficiency across the state, while Beaverton high schoolers fell below the state average in the 2021-22 school year.Math proficiency across the state was lower, too. About one in five Oregon 11th graders were meeting math standards last year — 21%. In Beaverton, that percentage was 11.5%, or just over one in 10 juniors in high school.

More Beaverton elementary and middle schoolers are meeting math and English standards than the statewide average, not yet bouncing back after the pandemic.

Beaverton elementary schoolers were 13 percentage points above the state average in English language arts and 15 points above math averages in the 2021-22 school year.

Beaverton-area middle schoolers were similarly 7.5 percentage points above the state average in English and 11.4 points above in math.

Districtwide Enrollment

Beaverton School District saw similar enrollment declines as districts across the state amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the district had 39,323 students enrolled. Prior to the onset of pandemic, in the 2019-20 school year, Beaverton had 41,215 students enrolled. That's a loss of about 4.6% of the student body.

Meanwhile, Oregon's public schools shed nearly 30,000 students from 2019 to 2021 — a 5% decrease across the state.

Beaverton School District spokesperson Shellie Bailey-Shah said some of the enrollment declines are the result of factors out of the district's control, like declining birth rates and fewer families moving into the Beaverton area.

"That decline in families moving into Beaverton is related to No. 1, the fact most of the area has been built out and we're not seeing a lot of new subdivisions, and No. 2, high housing costs (to either rent or own) are driving people out of the area," she said via email on Monday, Nov. 21.

To learn more about the barriers to student attendance as the number of regular attenders drops, the Beaverton School District is rolling out the online portal Engage BSD which, in part, allows for parents to answer a survey about why their child has missed school more than two days per month.

"We've asked students and parents who are struggling with consistent attendance to tell us about the barriers that they're facing," Bailey-Shah said. "Once we have a better understanding of those issues, we're looking to launch an attendance campaign in January."

Chronically absent students

PMG GRAPHIC - Fewer Beaverton School District students attended school regularly last school year than in 2018-19, though had fewer chronically absent students last year than the state average.While enrollment plays a factor in state-provided funding for public schools, more telling of student engagement is the number of students attending school more than 90% of the time, classified as "regular attenders."

The number of students across all grade levels regularly attending class in the Beaverton School District has dropped, compared to pre-pandemic data.

Just over 87% of elementary schoolers in the Beaverton School District attended school regularly in 2018-19. Last year, the average was 78%.

Middle schoolers dropped to around 77% last year from nearly 84% in 2018-19, and high schoolers dropped from 81% in 2018-19 to about 70% last year.

The pandemic and other factors took a chunk out of regular attenders across the board, but even more so for underserved populations across the district and across the state.

Subsects of Beaverton School District students whose regular attendance dropped 20% or more from the 2018-19 school year to 2021-22 include Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander elementary schoolers (which dropped from 76% to 50%; American Indian and Alaska Native middle schoolers (which dropped from 88% to 47% and Black high schoolers, which dropped from 79% to around 59%.

Ninth grade readiness

For high schools, a key indicator of success is the percentage of freshman on track to graduate with their peers in four years. Across Beaverton schools, 89% of freshmen were on track to graduate in four years, the same percentage as freshmen in the 2018-19 school year, before the pandemic.

Students are considered on-track if they pass a quarter of the classes needed to graduate in their freshman year of high school, according to the state report.

The Oregon average for last school year was 82.8% — 9.2% higher than the previous school year.

Stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oregon Legislature paused until 2024 the state's Assessment of Essential Skills graduation requirement that students take state assessment tests and show samples of their work.

During the pause, students are still required to meet all other class and credit requirements to graduate, including existing benchmarks in reading, writing and math skills.

Senate Bill 774 also required ODE to review statewide graduation requirements and recommend changes to be put in place after the 2023-24 school year.


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