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Medford School District Celebrates Improvements in Smarter Balanced Assessment Scores

Sept. 19, 2018

Newly released Smarter Balanced Assessment results show Medford School District (MSD) students continue to improve in English Language Arts (ELA), math and science.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment gives districts a summative assessment of student achievement for each content area for each school year.

“The assessments are very rigorous and I’m extremely impressed by how seriously our students and staff are taking them,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate. “These tests demonstrate a high level of critical thinking at all content areas and grade levels.”

Overall Improvements

The district as a whole saw a 2.4 percentage point increase in ELA, a 1.4 percentage point increase in math, and a 1.1 percentage point increase in science over last year’s scores.

Widening the Gap Over State Averages

For the second year in a row, MSD students are outperforming state averages by at least one percentage point. MSD students scored, on average, 9 percentage points above the state average in science.

“While we still have work to do, I’m very pleased with the performance of our students. The Medford School District continues to strive to be a premiere school district and performance on standardized tests is one way of achieving that,” said Dr. Shumate.

Notable Achievements in High Poverty Schools

As the district works to close the achievement gap with strategic investments in equitable learning opportunities for all students, schools with high poverty populations are continuing to see notable improvements in test scores.

South Medford High School surpassed state averages in all subject areas and marked a 10 percentage point gain over last year in ELA, a 10 percentage point gain in math, and a 5 percentage point gain in science. Howard Elementary School marked an 8 percentage point gain in ELA, Jackson Elementary School marked a 5 percentage point gain in math, and Kennedy Elementary School marked a 13.7 percent gain in science.

District administrators credit a number of strategies to the success, including:

  • Aligning District curriculum to Common Core Standards and aligning learning targets across schools
  • Strengthening Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for teacher collaboration to share student performance data in a timely fashion and provide effective, targeted interventions
  • Continuation of Math Studio, an intensive professional development to improve math achievement
  • Improved interventions in Special Education, Title 1 (federal program that provides funding to improve academic achievement of low income students), and extended year and day programs
  • Continuation of enhanced socio-emotional supports for students

“We are going to work with our administrators and teachers to analyze this data on a student-to-student basis to see how we can improve,” said Shumate. “We are succeeding in our work to help students achieve, regardless of their circumstances and zip code, but there is always more work to do.”