Standardized test results show Thurston students scored well

lpemberton@theolympian.comAugust 27, 2013 

Thurston County students continued to outperform their peers on standardized tests, according to results released Monday.

And across Washington, scores on the Measurements of Student Progress for grades three to eight, the High School Proficiency Exams and End-of-Course exams showed a slight improvement, state superintendent Randy Dorn said.

“There aren’t any dramatic changes from last year,” he said in a news release. “But our scores are up on more tests than down. In particular, I congratulate the Class of 2013 for their success in meeting a high bar on their exit exams.”

According to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website:

 • In most cases, test scores in the county’s three largest districts — Olympia, Tumwater and North Thurston — stayed well above the state average.

 • For the second year in a row, students at Boston Harbor Elementary School in Olympia achieved 100 percent passage rates on the third-grade reading test.

The 200-student school’s fourth-graders also all passedthe test, up from 94.7 percent by the previous class.

 • In the Tumwater School District, Black Lake Elementary School’s sixth-graders also scored 100 percent on their reading exam, up from 91.1 percent by the previous class.

“We were really close last year at Black Lake in fifth grade, and so that same group of kids went on to sixth grade and they got 100 percent,” said Andrew Schwebke, executive director of student learning.

During the past few years, reading has been a special focus for the district, which has programs that tailor literacy instruction to kids’ needs.

“Overall we’re well over 80 percent in most grade levels (for reading), and that goes back to the short cycles and filling the holes for kids before those holes become big problems for the kids’ learning,” Schwebke said.

The district also had gains in fourth-grade writing and high school end-of-course exams.

 • Olympia schools experienced gains in reading for nearly all grade levels and high school end-of-course exams. Across the district, fourth-grade writing and eighth-grade science test scores took a dip.

 • North Thurston saw noticeable gains in third-grade reading, fourth-grade math, seventh-grade math and the end-of-course high school biology. Several of its schools made individual gains on their test scores, as well.

“We continue to do extremely well in math and science,” said superintendent Raj Manhas. “… It has been our special focus for some time.”

 • North Thurston’s average four-year cohort graduation rate was 85 percent, compared with 84 percent for Olympia and 83 percent in Tumwater. The state’s average was 77 percent.

“That is one of the highest I’ve seen anywhere,” Manhas said. “I’m just so ecstatic about this because it’s amazing work by our teachers, our principals.”

 • Tumwater saw improvements in seventh- and eighth-grade math and in its end-of-course high school biology exams.

Olympia School District spokeswoman Rebecca Japhet said administrators are thrilled with Boston Harbor’s success. She said they’re also excited about the district’s high school scores.

“Our schools jumped 14 percent on end-of-the-course algebra scores, which is double what the state increased,” she said. “That’s been a real area of emphasis for our district. We’re really pleased that’s paid off.”

To view test scores by district and school, go to and click on State Report Card.

Chart inside

Find individual school test results.

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Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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