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PPS schools outperform state in reading, math and writing; district taking steps to accelerate progress

September 12, 2013
Portland Public Schools continues to outperform the state in reading, math and writing, state assessment results released today show.

Featured in PPS Pulse

The annual statewide test results for reading, writing, math, and science are one important indicator of student progress and are used by schools and districts to identify best practices and areas for improvement.

Across Oregon, the percent of students meeting state standard in 2012-13 declined except in high school reading and math.

In Portland Public Schools, results at the kindergarten through 8th grade level stayed flat. PPS saw gains at the high school level in reading and math. These results came even as students last year were no longer permitted to take the tests a third time in order to pass. In 2012-13, the state limited test taking to two tries.

Portland Public Schools’ state test results showed:

  • In reading (grade 3-8 and 11), 74 percent of students met or exceeded state standards compared to 71 percent statewide.
  • In third grade reading, a key benchmark, PPS students outperformed the state 67 percent to 62 percent.
  • In math (grades 3-8 and 11), 67 percent of PPS students met or exceeded compared to 62 percent statewide.
  • High school students showed a 4 percent gain to 69 percent in math test scores compared to the previous year, though similar to a drop across the state, writing scores declined 4 percentage points to 65 percent.
  • Hispanic students across PPS schools are ahead of the state average for Hispanic students in reading (55 percent compared to 52 percent) and slightly ahead in math (47 percent compared to 46 percent).
  • Black students in PPS schools lag behind the state average in reading (47 percent compared to 52 percent) and math (35 percent compared to 40 percent).

Many schools showed strong gains:

  • Irvington K-8: a 17 point increase in 3rd grade reading and a 5-point increase across the board in reading as well as a 4 point increase in math overall.
  • Whitman K-5: a 4-point gain in 3rd grade reading and an 8-point gain overall in reading; An 11 point gain overall in math.
  • SEI Academy: a 6-point gain overall in reading; 16 point gain overall in math.Madison High School: a 4 –point gain in 11th grade reading; a 12 point gain in math.

For the second year in a row, Madison and Roosevelt high schools showed gains:

  • Madison High School: a 4 point gain in 11th grade reading; a 12 point gain in math.
  • Roosevelt High School: a 27 percentage point gain in reading from 50 percent to 77 percent.

Some schools showed significant drops.

King K-8 School had a pronounced drop in test scores across most grade levels last year after dramatic gains the year before. District and school leaders are looking at how best to support students and staff going forward.

“We are pleased that our students continue to outperform the state in key subject areas,” said Superintendent Carole Smith. “But we are not satisfied with the pace of improvement for all of our students. We have been making targeted investments over time that we will continue, and we will be launching new initiatives this year based on proven practices in our schools and nationally. We look forward to accelerating gains.”

Even with significantly fewer dollars over recent years, Portland Public Schools has been investing in early childhood education, early literacy, a successful transition to high school and on-time graduation. The district has seen achievement at key Milestones improve overall while also narrowing the gap between white students and students of color.



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