To see 2011 test results for the district or by school, go to Here's Our Report Card link.
September 26, 2011
In a year of ups and downs, Oak Harbor makes significant gains in state testing results
North Whidbey Middle School and Crescent Harbor Elementary each showed strong improvements in 2011 test scores, according to results released by the state education office.
Assistant Superintendent Dr. Lance Gibbon told the Oak Harbor School Board Monday that state testing results for Oak Harbor showed a mix of more ups than downs, depending on grade level and subject matter. "The good news is our gains were significantly bigger than our setbacks," he said, with Oak Harbor showing improvement in two-thirds of the categories.
North Whidbey Middle School had a big comeback following a disappointing year in 2010. The school showed big gains in 6th grade reading and math, as well as 7th grade math and writing, with double-digit increases in the percentage of students testing at proficiency levels. Writing jumped by 34 percentage points.
"Gains like this come only from hard work and focused efforts," Gibbon said, "I am very proud of the work of our North Whidbey staff and students did to make this happen. There is still room for improvement, but these scores show that things are headed in right direction."
Gibbon also pointed out that the 8th grade class had lower scores in reading, math, and science compared to last year. "With improvements in so many other grade levels, we suspect there may be some curriculum alignment issues to resolve," he said.
Crescent Harbor Elementary, which entered "school improvement" status three years ago, has seen steady improvement. This year, Crescent Harbor scored higher than any other Oak Harbor school in fourth grade math, with 65.8 percent testing at proficiency levels. Writing scores improved by 26 percent in fourth grade, while reading improved by 10 percent.
In fifth grade at Crescent Harbor, reading was up by 20 percent, math by 23 percent, and science more than doubled with a 38 percent gain.
"I can't say enough positive things about the turnaround at Crescent Harbor," Gibbon reported. "This school showed a lot of heart and determination during a difficult time."
District-wide, both eighth grade and third grade saw drops in math scores, leading Gibbon to conclude that there might be a disconnection between Oak Harbor's new math textbooks and the state standards being tested. "While we have seen strong results overall from our new math curricula, we might not be emphasizing some key tested areas hard enough in 3rd and 8th grade. We'll make those adjustments," he said.
As the No Child Left Behind law reaches closer to its 2014 goal of 100 percent of students passing 100 percent of the time, the stakes keep getting higher and higher, Gibbon said. Statewide this year, 74 percent of school districts failed to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), as defined by the No Child Left Behind Act. The larger the school or district, the more difficult it is to pass the requirements because there are many more ways to fail. In Washington, only one school district with more than 1,000 students (Mercer Island) made AYP.
In 2011, the reading goal jumped to a requirement that 88 percent of students test as proficient readers. The result, Gibbon said, is the Oak Harbor schools that met the goal in 2010, failed in 2011, even though their scores improved.
As a district, Oak Harbor did not make AYP. "In general, our scores remain near to the state average - some slightly above and some slightly below, "Gibbon said. "Being 'average' is neither a cause for celebration or panic. We can do better and are already showing improvements in several areas."
The only school in the district to pass all the federal requirements was Hillcrest Elementary, which was removed from "school improvement" status after making AYP two years in a row. Hillcrest beat the odds as one of only 35 schools statewide to exit "school improvement."
MSP or Measurement of Student Progress, includes reading, writing, math, and science tests given in grades 3-8. High schools in the state take the HSPE or High School Proficiency Exam in reading, writing and science. Students must also pass "end of course" exams in geometry and algebra.