County schools fluctuate on assessment tests

Jackson County schools had wide fluctuations in outcomes in math, reading, science and writing in the annual state assessment last year, according to a report released today by the Oregon Department of Education.

The results of the tests administered to students each year are reported to the federal government and used locally to see what subjects educators need to focus on.

Major trends included an overall decrease in reading scores statewide and countywide in the third grade and general increases in middle school scores in all subject areas, except writing.

"The difficult thing is when we get these scores we are always comparing different groups of children," said Teresa Sayre, instructional services director at the Phoenix-Talent School District.

"We increased our scores in some places and went down in others. It'll take some time to analyze that."

The seesaw effect of scores is most obvious in tiny school districts such as Butte Falls and Prospect, where a few students can cause radical swings in the overall scores.

For example, in Butte Falls in 2007-08, third-graders boasted the highest reading scores in the county. Last year, the new crop of third-graders at Butte Falls trailed all of the other county districts in their reading scores.

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