Hold the applause

Ashland public school students continue to outpace all others in the area on standardized tests of achievement in math, science and English language arts. But the district’s numbers showed declines in all three subject areas across all grades.

The tests, known as the Smarter Balanced Assessment, were adopted by the state Board of Education in 2014 for all Oregon school districts. The tests are administered every year from grade three through eight, and again the 11th grade.

Ashland students have always scored well above the state average on standardized tests, and the last school year was no different. But while Medford students, for example, showed improvement across all grades in all subjects and moved farther ahead of the state averages, Ashland School District lost some ground.

The declines were not dramatic: Ashland students slipped 1.2 percentage points in English, 2.7 points in math and 3.6 points in science. Laurie Rooper, the district’s director of human resources and communications, said, “I don’t really see them as significant drops.”

Still, drops they are. And while Ashland still far exceeds the state averages, which saw small declines in two subjects and an increase in one, the local drops were greater than the state declines. Ashland’s 3.6-point decline in science compared with a statewide decline of 1.2 percentage points. Ashland’s English language arts score was down 1.2, while the state as a whole saw an increase of 1.3.

Ashland should still be proud of its schools. Here’s to better results this school year.

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