Knappa students were half as likely to be on track in English, language arts and math compared with their peers statewide, according to Smarter Balanced assessment results released Thursday.
Students begin taking the assessment each spring in third grade through high school. The assessment traces whether students are on track academically for college or workforce training.
Statewide, students registered their poorest performance in five years. Clatsop County students also showed a drop in aptitude and continued to mostly lag behind statewide marks.
Just more than a quarter of Knappa students were on track in English and language arts in last spring’s tests, compared to more than half statewide and far below the county’s other four school districts. The results continued a precipitous drop in Knappa, where 37.7% were on track in English and language arts two years ago.
Less than 18% of Knappa students were on track in math, adecline from 23.1% two years ago, half the statewide rate and significantly worse than county peers.
“We have work to do,” Paulette Johnson, the schools superintendent in Knappa, said of the results. “I think every district in the state has some work to do.”
Johnson couldn’t pinpoint exactly why Knappa students struggle on state assessments, but said it could be related to demographics, academic rigor or teaching styles.
“We always thought we need to add more rigor to what we do,” she said.
School districts statewide are creating improvement plans to secure an estimated $1 billion annually in additional revenue from the Student Success Act starting in fall 2020. Knappa educators have talked about investing more in after-school opportunities, expanding preschool and increasing school days, Johnson said.
In Astoria, just more than half of students were on track in English and language arts, tracking similarly to the last three years and just below the state average. Nearly 37% of Astoria students were on track in math, a slight decrease from the previous spring, but within 2% of the state average.
Nearly half of Warrenton-Hammond School District students were on track in English and language arts, down from half of students the previous spring, but up from less than 44% two years ago.
Warrenton-Hammond students were again the most proficient countywide in math, with more than 37% on track. District students in 2017-18 eclipsed the state average in math proficiency, a rarity for county school districts.
In Seaside, 44% of students were on track in English and language arts, down from more than half of students in 2017-18. A mere 28.4% of Seaside students were on track in math, down from more than 32% the year prior.
In the rural K-12 Jewell School, where results can skew heavily because of a small student population, more than 42% of students were on-track in English and language arts, compared to around half of students the previous two years. Nearly 22% were proficient in math, down from more than 26% the previous spring.
“It is clear improvement is needed in these two subject areas,” Colt Gill, director of the state Department of Education, said in a news release. “Thanks to the historic Student Success Act passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Kate Brown, we will eventually see more resources targeted to help students graduate high school ready for college or a career.”