Washington student test scores on the rise, says State Superintendent

Sep 9, 2022, 3:21 PM | Updated: 3:26 pm
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

The Washington state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) released its data from the spring 2022 standardized state education assessment.

This was the first year since the COVID-19 pandemic began where there was “typical” statewide testing.

Data released shows that 70% of Washington students are proficient or making progress over their fall 2021 test scores, leading education experts to have hope for a recovery back to pre-pandemic levels.

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When broken down by subject, for English and language arts testing, more than 41% of students were proficient in both fall 2021 and spring 2022, and another 10.2% accelerated into proficiency during the year. Nearly 15% of students made progress but are not yet proficient. In mathematics, nearly 30% of students were proficient from fall to spring and 9.7% accelerated into proficiency during the year. 20.7% of students made progress but are not yet proficient.

The drop in test scores is pretty standard for the country, especially considering the hardships in education during the pandemic.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the national standardized test, data shows that student scores in reading and math declined from 2020 to 2022 in all grade levels assessed, illustrating how the pandemic has impacted students across the country similarly. Overall, proficiency is down from pre-pandemic spring 2019 levels, but an improvement from fall 2021 to spring 2022 can still be seen.

The demographics struggling the hardest to catch back up to their pre-pandemic testing levels tend to come from low-income families, students with disabilities, and students who are multilingual/English learners; as well as students who are American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander. OSPI says that at the federal, state, and local levels, supporting students furthest from educational justice and students most impacted by the pandemic has remained a top priority in providing the necessary support to students.

“This data are encouraging,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal. “There is no question that COVID-19 significantly impacted the learning environment. The disruptions of remote learning, quarantine, isolation, and transitioning back in person after periods of learning remotely are evident in the decrease in proficiency from spring 2019 to spring 2022. However, the incredible work of our educators and families to support students is evident in the recovery we are seeing across grade levels and subjects.”

Families, policymakers, and community members should be cautious though when looking at state assessment scores as the main indicator of student learning and growth. OSPI says that engagement, attendance, grades, classroom-based assignments and tests all provide important and timely information about individual students’ progress to their families and educators as well.

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Washington student test scores on the rise, says State Superintendent