(Updated Nov. 14 to reflect adjusted scores, per the OSPI Report Card.)
Mathematics is a “gatekeeper” subject. Math guards the “gate” to college, the trades, the military, and entrepreneurship. If high school graduates don’t have sufficient math skills, they cannot pass through these gates.
Washington State’s pass rates for the spring 2010 standardized tests came out this week. I have a few of the math pass rates here, including some for Spokane Public Schools. I hope you’re sitting down.
Pass rates for Washington's 2010 math tests
|Washington students:||Spokane students:|
Spokane Public Schools middle school math pass rates
Spokane Public Schools high school math pass rates
|Ferris||Lewis and Clark||North Central||Rogers||Shadle|
Folks, it's bad. But don’t get up from your seat just yet. It's worse than you think. According to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI), our students needed to earn slightly more than half of the possible points on these tests in order to pass them.
|Grade||Points needed to pass:||Pct. needed to pass|
|3||21 out of 34||61.76%|
|4||20 out of 34||58.8%|
|5||20 out of 34||58.8%|
|6||23 out of 40||57.5%|
|7||22 out of 40||55%|
|8||22 out of 40||55%|
|10||unchanged from 2009||56.9%|
Washington State’s 10th-grade students needed just 56.9% on their math tests in order to pass, and yet 61.3% of Spokane’s 10th graders couldn’t do it.
I’ll bet you also didn’t know:
- OSPI looks at the completed tests first, and THEN decides where to set the cut scores. The State Board of Education approved these cut scores in August 2010, several months AFTER the students took the tests in the spring of 2010. The cut scores moved to fit -- not math standards nor academic content -- but test outcomes.
- All of the cut scores dropped from 2009 (thereby making the tests easier to pass), with the exception of 7th grade, which rose 1 percentage point, and 10th grade, which was unchanged.
- OSPI considers the passing scores noted above to also mean that students are “proficient” in mathematics. Therefore, a 10th grader is supposedly “proficient” in mathematics if he or she earns just 37 points out of a possible 65.
Parents and teachers: You are being betrayed. The children are being purposefully and persistently miseducated. They are not being given the math skills they need for college, for a trade, for business ownership, or for any postsecondary life that depends on or even uses mathematics. Most are unlikely to ever become engineers, doctors, attorneys, pilots, air traffic controllers, architects, or dozens of other types of well-paid professionals. Recent high school graduates who have not had outside intervention are likely to need remedial math classes before beginning college – perhaps several remedial math classes.
And that brings me to one more piece of bad news. In Spokane, nearly half of all SPS-educated students who take remedial math classes at our area two-year colleges fail those remedial classes or withdraw early. And what are their career options then?
Parents and teachers: Rise up. Take back the classroom from those who have stolen it. Go to board meetings, write letters, call school board members. Hold state and district administrators accountable for this education horror. Make the superintendent and the curriculum department personnel answer to you – specifically, out loud, and in public. And if they can't, if they won't ... call for their resignation or firing.
Meanwhile, please take the necessary steps to save the children. Supplement the math program, homeschool in mathematics, provide the children with tutors, or pull them out of the school system entirely. Do not let public-education administrators squander their futures. To those in Spokane: Please let me know if you plan to speak to the school board. I will do my best to be there, to support you and to cheer you on.
Please note: The information in this post is copyrighted. The proper citation is: Rogers, L. (September 2010). "Pass rates on 2010 state math tests shocking." Retrieved (date) from the Betrayed Web site: http://betrayed-whyeducationisfailing.blogspot.com/