(AP) — Middle and high school students across Oregon aren't improving on state tests in math and reading, new data from the Oregon Department of Education show.
Elementary school students continue to do well in both subjects, suggesting that despite plenty of focus on the issue, Oregon hasn't been able to do much to stem the testing drop-off as students get older.
The issue takes on special consequence with this year's entering ninth graders, the first class expected to fulfill tougher course requirements for graduation.
There was a bright spot for Oregon's older students on the writing portion: Fifty-six percent of last year's 10th graders met state standards, the highest of any age group. Just 43 percent of fourth graders met that threshold, and 50 percent of seventh graders.
The margins were flipped, though, in reading and math. Eighty-three percent of the state's fourth graders passed state tests in reading, compared with just 65 percent of 10th graders and 74 percent of 7th graders.
And in math, 77 percent of 4th graders passed the state's tests, a significant jump from just 71 percent last year, while 10th grade results declined _ from a 55 percent passing rate in the 2006-2007 school year to a 52 percent rate last year.
Some of the bleakest results came from the state's alternative high schools, where at-risk students are sent after they've failed or dropped out of traditional high schools. At Albany Options school, for instance, just 8.3 percent of the 10th graders hit a passing score on state math tests.
A few high schools did achieve outstanding results, particularly those that offer advanced curriculums, like an International Baccalaureate program. About 95 percent of students at the International School of the Cascades in Redmond passed the state tests in math and reading, for example.
Some school officials said they'd been motivated by the previous year's results to focus on weak areas, with gratifying results.