standardized tests

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Only about 48 percent of eighth graders in Washington state met the standard in math this past school year.

The state schools superintendent’s office has just released test results for the Smarter Balanced assessment for a number of grades. Overall, test scores trended down a bit compared with a year earlier.

For example, on the English language arts assessment, 59 percent of eighth graders met the standard compared with 60 percent last year.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

School districts are often encouraged to make sweeping changes in order to lift up low-achieving schools. Shutting a school down and overhauling it or replacing most of the staff are among the solutions favored by federal officials these days. But one struggling school in Tacoma is taking an opposite approach: they’re doubling down on the teachers they already have.

Washington students have made some gains on standardized test scores. Math scores ticked up in nearly every grade tested, according to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. Superintendent Randy Dorn says he’s encouraged by the steady improvement, and credits an intense focus on math and science.