Battle Ground Public Schools Continues to Get High Marks on State Tests

October 24, 2014 BGPS Web

Battle Ground Public Schools Continues to Get High Marks on State Tests

October 24, 2014

The Washington report card says it all:  For the last five years, students in Battle Ground Public Schools have consistently outperformed their peers across the state on standard tests that measure student progress.

This fact is probably most apparent on last year's test results, which show that Battle Ground Public Schools beat the state on 17 of 21 tests. That is, a higher percentage of Battle Ground students passed the Washington tests than did students across the state.

"If you choose to look back at test scores over the last few years, this is not an anomaly," said Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Mark Hottowe. "We have a strong track record of performing well.”

For the last five years, Washington has assessed student learning in third through eighth grades on the subjects of reading, math, writing and science with its Measurements of Student Progress (MSP) assessment, and has tested tenth graders on reading and writing with its High School Proficiency Exams. Statewide testing is important because it helps ensure all public school students receive a quality education. In a report released earlier this year by Education Week, Washington ranked ninth in the country for K-12 student achievement, and this ranking is based on state testing. 

“It is encouraging to know that our students are performing well in a state that is already ranked in the top ten nationwide,” Hottowe said. 

The results for Washington's tests are reported as a percentage of students within each grade level who earned passing scores. Last year, for example, 80 percent of eighth graders in Battle Ground Public Schools passed the reading test, while just 71.6 percent of eighth graders across the state passed the same test. On math tests, 60.2 percent of Battle Ground eighth graders passed, while 55.9% of students passed the same test statewide.

These results help districts and schools decide which teaching practices and curricula best support student understanding of the state learning standards. In Battle Ground, administrators attribute its consistent, above average student results to what happens in the classroom and the dedication of the principals, teachers, and specialists at every school in the district to collaborate and grow professionally.

"When you compare our district test scores to the state and other districts, our reading is higher, our math is higher," said David Cresap, director of assessment at Battle Ground Public Schools. "There is no one thing that contributes to student success, however; it is a cumulative effort of good policies, good teachers and good supports.”

Battle Ground Public Schools uses professional development time during early release days to allow teachers and administrators to meet in collaborative teams within schools and across grade levels and discuss student performance and develop skills to best meet the state’s learning initiatives. 

"Tests are only one area of success in Battle Ground Public Schools," says Mark Ross, assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning. "Part of the reason we have improving test scores is because there has been an impetus for collaboration in the last few years."

Battle Ground students have shown improved test scores within grade levels across the tested subjects. In fifth grade reading, for example, the percentage of Battle Ground students who passed the test went from 68.9 in 2010 to 78 in 2014. And while 55.3 percent of Battle Ground sixth graders passed the state math test in 2010, the amount of students who received passing scores in 2014 increased to 65.2 percent. Increased learning trends persist on the results of all state subject tests over the last five years.

"Teachers are taking the initiative to determine how their students are best learning, and are working hard to meet those needs," said Allison Tuchardt, Battle Ground Public Schools assistant director of assessment. "Everyone knows that what happens in the classroom affects what happens to students after school, and are focused on giving students the knowledge and skills they'll need to be successful in life and careers."

You can view state test results for Washington, Battle Ground Public Schools and other districts on the Washington State Report Card website.

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