Breaking down our districts' test scores

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- KEPR is keeping an eye on how well our school districts are teaching your children.

The latest state test scores have our districts making strides across the board in math, but reading taking a dip.

When it comes to how her kids perform on standardized tests, Robin Ferguson trusts instructors in the Kennewick School District.

Reporter: "In terms of test scores, is that something you concern yourself with?"
"No, because I think the teachers do a good job and my kids usually score pretty good on the tests," she says.

We took a look at statewide test scores for our districts. We compared how local 10th graders did year over year in math and reading.

82 percent of Kennewick sophomores passed the reading portion. That's about even with last year. But math had a slight increase in the same time period.

Richland saw increases across the board, adding five percent to the number of students who passed the math test.

But in Pasco, math scores improved the most of all three districts.
Pasco students had a slight dip in reading. English isn't a first language for a majority of Pasco students.

The district's assistant superintendent finds the scores help provide a frame of reference for educators.

"They take it down to the kid level to know where it is that we need to focus on for continuing great practices and improving on others," says Assistant Superintendent Liz Frank.

And in the face of budgets tightening at the federal level, more weight is being put on test scores to receive assistance. There are concerns that can put some students at a disadvantage, in districts that need to most help.

"The mark of whether you doing well is based on one assessment. And for us, we really need multiple assessments to know what our kids can and cannot do," Frank added.

But that kind of change could be years away while our legislature debates how to even fund education.

Pasco students made strides in science and biology last year. That was attributed to increased attention and money on stem projects.