Statewide tests show room for improvement
The majority of Canby School District's students performed lower in science on statewide assessments, the latest results show, with ups and downs in English language arts and math.
During the 2017-18 academic year, students in grades 3-8 and 11 participated in Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium standardized tests for English language arts and math, and students in grades 5, 8 and 11 took OAKS science tests.
The test scores show the percent of students who are proficient in those areas of study. Results are broken down by district, school, grade, and even demographic groups such as sex, race and socioeconomic status.
"In analyzing the 2017-18 Smarter Balanced assessment scores for the Canby School District, it is clear there is a lot of opportunity for improvement," said Superintendent Trip Goodall and Communications Coordinator Autumn Foster in a joint statement from Canby School District.
Perhaps the greatest opportunity for improvement lies with those students who have been historically underserved, such as English learners, students with disabilities and the economically disadvantaged.
"The most disappointing data point is probably the disparity in scores among our historically underserved student groups," the statement said. "A student's economic status or race should not be a predictor for their success in school, yet we still experience significant achievement gaps."
The district is working to close those gaps through investing in training for teachers and staff.
Compared to Oregon's results, most of Canby School District's proficiency rates are similar. But that still isn't good enough, the district's statement pointed out.
"While Canby's scores are in-line or above state averages in most areas, those state averages are still low," the statement said. "More than half of Oregon's students are not proficient in math, according to these assessment results."
Likewise, in Canby just 42.3 percent of students are proficient in math, 52.9 are proficient in ELA and 57.8 percent are proficient in science.
But the district looks at more than just those three numbers as they analyze the data and attempt to use it to improve academics. They consider factors like participation rates, curriculum and cohort performance, which is the year-to-year class performance as they progress through grade levels.
Unfortunately, Canby isn't seeing significant growth among cohorts. For the most part, in ELA, cohorts are remaining steady or improving. But, for instance, in the last three years, Canby's current ninth-graders dropped in ELA from 56.2 percent proficient in 2015-16 to 51.2 percent the next year and 46.8 percent proficient in eighth grade last year. In math, more cohorts dropped in performance than climbed.
"Ideally, we would see gains among each cohort from year-to-year," the statement said. "While that certainly is the case in some of our schools, it is not a universal trend."
The district will look to those high-performing schools to help improve practices district-wide.
Despite the pressure to improve scores, the statement noted that the district is not "teaching to the test," but is working to give students the skills they need to succeed beyond their years in Canby's schools. This includes not only evaluating SBAC and OAKS data, but also other assessments that take place throughout the year, such as I-Ready.
For more on Canby's assessments, check out these related stories: Canby's elementary students see ups, downs on statewide assessments and Canby's middle, high school statewide assessment scores drop