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Medford School District Celebrates Improvements in Smarter Balanced Test Scores

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Sept. 8, 2016

Newly released Smarter Balanced Test scores show Medford School District students are improving on English Language Arts (ELA), Math and Science tests.

“It’s a very high level of rigor and I’m extremely impressed by how seriously our students and staff are taking these assessments,” said Chief Academic Officer Michelle Zundel. “These tests demonstrate a high level of critical thinking at all grade levels.”

The District as a whole saw a 2 percentage point increase in science, a 2.5 percentage point increase in Math, and a 4.9 percentage point increase in ELA. The District is now scoring above state averages in both Science and ELA by 7.8 and 1.3 percentage points respectively.

“We are very pleased by the results,” said Zundel, noting that the District is now seeing faster growth than the state aggregate.

Notable accomplishments include:

  • Test scores in the 11th grade are up 8.2 percentage points in Math over last year, bringing the district .08 percentage points over the state average
  • Test scores in the 11th grade are up 11.9 percentage points in ELA over last year
  • The District continues to do very well in Science with all grade levels scoring above state averages
  • A number of schools are showing exceptional gains:
  • Howard Elementary School’s scores increased by double-digits in 3rd and 5th grade Math, 23.4 percentage points and 15.3 percentage points respectively
  • Jefferson Elementary School’s scores increased by 25 percentage points in 5th grade Math
  • South Medford High School is now 4 percentage points over the state average in 11th grade ELA with a 19.6 percentage point increase over last year
  • Abraham Lincoln Elementary School’s scores are 20 percentage points over state average in 3rd grade Math, up 14.9 percentage points over last year

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

  • Aligning District curriculum to Common Core Standards
  • Strengthening Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) for teacher collaboration to share student performance data in a timely fashion and provide effective, targeted interventions
  • Investment in 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

“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 Zundel. “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.”

The state requires a 95 percent test participation rate. The following three Medford School District schools did not meet that requirement: Logos Charter School at the elementary level, Madrone Trail Public Charter School and Central Medford High School. The state recommends interpreting data of schools that did not meet the participation rate standard with caution.