Several Oregon schools saw spikes in test scores, then dips

Several Oregon schools saw spikes in test scores, then dips

The KATU On Your Side Investigators found more local schools with suspicious scores in the latest batch of standardized test results.

After an official complaint was filed about a double-digit dip in student performance at Portland's King School, Investigators Anna Canzano and Chelsea Kopta scrutinized three years of data looking for other schools with similarly dramatic gains and losses.
 
By following results turned in by particular groups of students as they progressed grade to grade, they were able to identify unusual performance patterns at schools in least five districts in our area.
 
King in Northeast Portland had the most dramatic changes – and the school is now under official investigation.
 
Only 36 percent of the kids taking the third grade math test at King in 2011 met or exceeded expectations. The same group of kids the next year, then in 4th grade, staged a remarkable turnaround with nearly 90 percent passing.
 
But it's when these kids reach the fifth grade that the real red flag goes up, because the math scores dropped so far down: only 9.5 percent of them met or exceeded expectations.
 
KING SCHOOL - MATH TEST
% OF STUDENTS MEETING OR EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
ACADEMIC YEAR
3rd Grade
36%
2010-2011
4th Grade
88.9%
2011-2012
5th Grade
9.5%
2012-2013
 
A spokeswoman for Portland Public Schools said the drastic swing was because of number of times kids can take state tests.
 
Previously, students were given three opportunities to take the standardized tests. Lasst year it was cut to two.
 
"You may have kids who are overcoming barriers to success. That third time can be a charm, so when it goes away it can have an impact," said district spokeswoman Erin Hoover Barnett.
 
She said the district is still addressing ways to ensure more consistency in test scores.
 
Currently, only scores at the King School are being officially challenged. But our investigation turned up the same drastic kind of rise and drop at another Portland school - Bridger Elementary in Southeast Portland.
 
BRIDGER ELEMENTARY – MATH TEST
% OF STUDENTS MEETING OR EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
ACADEMIC YEAR
4th Grade
48.5%
2010-2011
5th Grade
81.8%
2011-2012
6th Grade
25.5%
2012-2013
Our analysis of the numbers has turned up measurable spike-drop results on the math test at two schools in the Beaverton School District (Beaver Acres, Greenway Elementary), two in Gresham-Barlow (Gresham Arthur Academy, Hogan Cedars Elementary), one school in Hillsboro (Mooberry Elementary) and one in the North Clackamas School District (Cascade Heights Charter).
 
Some of the scores, like those from Beaver Acres in Beaverton, show more moderate changes:
 
BEAVER ACRES – MATH TEST
% OF STUDENTS MEETING OR EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
ACADEMIC YEAR
3rd Grade
73.9%
2010-2011
4th Grade
84.8%
2011-2012
5th Grade
61%
2012-2013
 
But the swing in scores from others, like Hogan Cedars Elementary in the Gresham-Barlow School District, is unusually pronounced.
 
HOGAN CEDARS – MATH TEST
% OF STUDENTS MEETING OR EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS
ACADEMIC YEAR
3rd Grade
46.9%
2010-2011
4th Grade
78.1%
2011-2012
5th Grade
45.1%
2012-2013
 
In the next several days, the On Your Side Investigators will be looking at reading scores as well and we'll be bringing the findings to local and state educators for their analysis and response; Oregon Department of Education officials have already expressed interest in examining the unusual scoring swings flagged by our investigation of 2009-2012 test results back in August.