Washington students testing better in math, science

Aug 30, 2011

Washington’s students have made some gains on math and science tests. More kids passed state exams in those subjects last year than the year before, according to the Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn.

Dorn says he doesn’t think students are smarter, but that they’re learning more.

“I think our quality of teaching is better," he says. "We have clearer, better standards. And I think we’re using data smarter and wiser to help students have a more individualized instruction and educational program.”

The state also has some new tests. High school students must now pass “end-of-course” exams in math to graduate. More than 65-percent of students passed the tests that focus on just algebra or geometry.  Less than half used to meet standard when the old, cumulative math exam was given in 10th grade.

Outcomes in reading and writing were more mixed. 

Despite the improvements, more Washington schools failed to make adequate yearly progress, as required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. Preliminary figures show nearly two-thirds of the state’s schools missed the mark this year.

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