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Kent, Tahoma students make big gains on state tests
Kentwood, Kentlake, and Tahoma high schools all saw big gains in the number of students who passed End of Course exams in the 2012-2013 school year according to data released by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
End of Course exams in math and biology, which were implemented in 2011 and 2013, respectively, test students on what they learned in specific courses instead of a comprehensive test like the High School Proficiency Exam, also known as HSPE, according to OSPI.
End of Course exams in math have replaced the math portion of the HSPE and students are required to pass one of the exams in order to graduate. Passing the science exam will be a graduation requirement beginning with the class of 2015.
For the 2012-2013 school year 93 percent of Tahoma High students passed the Math Year 1 EOC, up from 73.7 percent in the 2011-2012 school year, and 95.5 percent passed the Math Year 2 EOC, up from 89.2 percent the year before. Another big jump for Tahoma came on the Biology EOC exams with 92.4 percent of students passing last year, an increase over the 81.6 percent that passed in 2012.
At Kentwood the number of students who passed the Math Year 1 EOC went up from 73.3 percent in 2012 to 85.8 percent in 2013, and on Math Year 2 the number of students who passed increased to 89.9 percent in 2013, up from 81 percent in 2012. Also in 2013, 79 percent of students at Kentwood passed the Biology EOC exam, an increase over the 68.1 percent who passed in 2012.
Students at Kentlake also made large gains in 2013 with 79 percent passing the Math Year 1 EOC, up from 67.2 percent in 2012, and 88.7 percent passing the Math Year 2 EOC, up from 76.3 percent in 2012. On the Biology EOC over three quarters of students, 76.3 percent, passed—a more than 20 percent improvement over the 52.8 percent who passed in 2012.
As another requirement for graduation students are also required to pass the reading and writing HSPE tests.
Scores at Tahoma High dipped slightly on the HSPE in 2013, with 95.9 percent of students passing the reading section, down from 96.4 percent in 2012, and 94.8 percent on the writing section, down from 97.6 percent in 2012.
At Kentlake the opposite happened with small gains in students who passed the HSPE. In 2013 83.4 percent of Kentlake students passed the reading section, up from 78.3 percent in 2012, and 87.3 percent passed the writing section, up from 85.9 percent in 2012.
Results were mixed at Kentwood where 89.4 percent of students passed the reading section in 2013, up from 85.4 percent in 2012, and 90.1 percent passed the writing section, essentially holding even with the 90.5 percent who passed in 2012.
More change is on the horizon for student assessments and graduation requirements as the Common Core State Standards for English and language arts are implemented and the new Smarter Balanced tests, that are designed around the Common Core, are phased in, becoming a requirement for the class of 2019, and the HSPE and EOCs in math are phased out.
Also included in the data released by OSPI are the schools’ four-year cohort graduation rate. At Kentlake 83 percent of the 2013 cohort graduated, up from 68 percent for 2012 and 77 percent in 2011. At Kentwood 87 percent of the 2013 cohort graduated, up from 79 percent in 2012 and 81 in 2011. At Tahoma the cohort graduation rate has held steady at 86 percent over the last three years. Statewide, 77 percent of the 2013 cohort graduated.