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Ashland schools fare well on state report cards

 Posted: 11:35 AM October 11, 2012

Oregon education officials released report card ratings for 1,155 public schools on Thursday, finding 10 percent need improvement.

The state said 31 percent of the schools were outstanding, and 59 percent were deemed satisfactory. Another 98 schools were not graded because of their small size or recent opening.

In Ashland, Walker Elementary ranked satisfactory, Lincoln ranked strong, Briscoe was exceptional, and all other schools ranked outstanding.

Due to grading changes for the school report cards this year, ratings can't be directly compared to the year before. Changes in store for next year will be even greater.

The ratings are being redesigned as part of the state's waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind law. The new system, which is being designed by a committee of teachers, administrators, parents and education advocates, will expand the focus to a broader array of factors than test scores, attendance and graduation rates.

The 2011-12 ratings deemed 113 schools to be in need of improvement. Three-fourths of those schools got the designation because reading and math scores were too low or the dropout rate was too high. That's partly because the state Department of Education made elementary and middle school reading and math tests tougher and also raised its expectation of how many students a high school should graduate.

"We are setting a higher standard for ourselves because we are not satisfied with where we are," Rob Saxton, deputy superintendent of public instruction, told The Oregonian. "Students' future really depends on whether they are going to graduate from high school, as does our state's future."

Schools that scored best on the report cards generally had students from well-educated, financially secure families.

— Associated Press

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