VERIFY: Has District 81 lowered graduation standards?

VERIFY: Has District 81 lowered graduation standards?

Questions about the graduation rates for Spokane Public Schools rising graduation rates poured in after Rob Harris reported on the increase in early June. 

Those questions included: “Did they lower standards or increase learning potential?” “What is the percent that are college ready?” and “How many graduates will need additional math and English classes?”

KREM 2 set out to verify some of those questions.

Here’s a look at the standardized testing scores from 2007 through 2016 from the Office of Superintendent of Public Information.

For example, in 2013, OSPI data shows more than 80 percent of students scoring proficient in math and language arts but in 2014, those numbers dropped to 20 and 31 percent.

The numbers admitted to colleges those years stayed almost the same.

However, officials said the tests given and the method of scoring changes so often comparing the data is not always accurate.

Officials at Spokane Public Schools said they hope a more uniform way of measuring progress and proficiency statewide happens soon.

SPS wants the state to find a more consistent method of measuring progress and proficiency. 

They said they want it to be the SAT. The school district already pays for each student to take the test and designate a school day for it. 

In conclusion to the first question: “Are students graduating with more proficiency?” We are going to have to say: undecided. The data from the state makes it hard to tell.

Moving onto the second question, “Has the district lowered its requirements in order to graduate more students?”

Director of Secondary Schools in Spokane, Shawn Jordan, told KREM 2 the opposite was true.
“If you look at the requirements in Spokane, you'll see we've actually increased the graduation requirements ahead of the state,” said Jordan.

What Jordan said checks out.

Documents from Spokane Public Schools show their required courses for graduation show the district is staying up with, and in some cases superseding, the increasing expectations from the state.

So, we are calling the second statement about lowered requirements -- FALSE.

Verify Source:

•Director of Secondary Schools in Spokane: Shawn Jordan

Verify Resources:

School district standardized testing results

• Washington State Report card

College enrollment stats

• ERDC Reports

Help VERIFY

Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.

© 2017 KREM-TV


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