Washington School District

Washington School District scores in English and math are again higher than the state average, according to 2019 test score data released Thursday by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

For the second straight year, fewer than half of Missouri schoolchildren are performing at grade level in English and math.

Across the state’s public and charter schools, 49 percent of students are proficient or advanced in English and 42 percent in math. It was the second year students took a more difficult test that caused steep drops between 2017 and 2018.

In the Washington School District, 56.9 percent of students are proficient or advanced in English and 44.8 percent in math.

The English scores dropped slightly — 2.7 percent — from 2018 while the math scores edged up 0.4 percent from the previous year.

“Now that we have the ability to compare data from two years, we can fine-tune our strategies to improve these scores,” said Assistant Superintendent Dr. Judy Straatmann.

“It is my hope that Missouri Learning Standards and the assessments remain the same for a while, so our students and staff understand the target we are trying to achieve,” she said. “While I appreciate having assessments that are rigorous, data must be used cautiously.”

Straatmann said a change in assessments can elude to a perception that suddenly students are not as proficient in a content area as they were when assessed with previous assessments.

“It is our job now to use the two years of data obtained from the new assessments to determine the curriculum details and the instructional strategies needing to be changed in order to perform well on the new more rigorous assessments,” she said.

The state did not release annual performance report scores this year, which determine the level of accreditation for a district.

The decision not to release overall performance scores was to encourage people to look beyond a single number, the state said.

The new data includes information on individual student growth, which can be more meaningful than test scores, state education leaders said this week.

Other Data

The data release also included information on student improvement, attendance and graduation rates.

In the Washington School District, attendance increased slightly from 93.2 percent in 2017-18, to 93.4 percent in 2018-19.

The graduation rate for students for completing their studies in four years was 90.3 percent in 2019, compared to 90.7 percent in 2018.

Students earning their diplomas in five years was 91.7 percent in 2019, and 93.9 percent in 2018; six years, 94.6 percent in 2019, and 92.0 in 2018; and seven years, 92.0 percent in 2019, and 92.6 percent in 2018.

“Various graduation rates are used to ensure we are assisting all students in reaching the goal of graduating,” Straatmann noted. “It puts the focus on the goal, rather than on the time it takes to reach the goal.”