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Holding steady – No big surprises in SFSD scores

By Stephen Floyd

Student data for the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) was mostly status quo in the ’22-’23 school year compared to ’21-’22, as the district works to improve test scores.

In the state’s At-A-Glance reports, published in October, the district saw little change in standardized test scores including 3rd grade reading and 8th grade math.

The rate of students meeting reading expectations was the same both years at 50%, while math for the ’22-’23 school year was at 39% compared to 34% the year prior. In both years these scores were above state averages.

SFSD spokesman Derek McElfresh said the district would like to see more improvement, but the regular testing routines were interrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“This isn’t something for us to feel satisfied about, but we also try to remember that this is the first time everyone is taking the state exam in years,” he said.

McElfresh said teachers and staff are working to increase collaboration and implement instructional reforms. They hope to see test score improvements this school year.

The district remained strong in graduation-related metrics, with 95% of 9th graders on track to graduate (85% statewide), and 89% of 12th graders graduating on time (81% statewide). The state has also started tracking how many high schoolers are earning their diploma within five years, with SFSD at 96% (87% statewide).

Another new metric in this year’s report was district-wide attendance rates, defined as students who attended more than 90% of their enrolled school days. Previous reports tracked students in kindergarten through 2nd grade, and this year the state began reporting students in all grades.

SFSD was at 66% regular attendees in the ’22-’23 school year (62% state average). 

Attendence by demographic was Asian (95%), African American (71%), white (67%), Native American (46%) and Latinx (60%).

The previous report measuring K-2 recorded 68% attendance, while attendance in the 2018-2019 school year was 83%. McElfresh said this decrease since the pandemic has been seen statewide and may be because families are more likely to keep kids home if they are sick.

District-wide enrollment was at 3,658, up from 3,530 during the ’21-’22 school year, but still below pre-COVID enrollment of 3,929 during the ’18-’19 school year. 

McElfresh said testing and graduation requirements have changed significantly, making it difficult to compare pre-COVID data.

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