New Report: Transparency Matters for Our Students’ Success

Knowledge is power — for students seeking to advance their education and prepare for their futures, for teachers seeking to improve their instruction, for families who want to support their children’s education. That’s why it’s important to measure students’ progress during their time in school, to understand where they are excelling and where they might benefit from extra help.

A new report from Achieve, a national education nonprofit that works with states, indicates that our state is performing relatively well — 8th overall — when it comes to transparently reporting information about students’ college and career readiness.

Washington reports information about progress toward graduation and graduation rates, as well as college and career readiness assessment scores, postsecondary enrollment, and remediation. And, our state breaks this information down by subgroups of students, so teachers, families, and schools can understand and address achievement gaps more easily. That said, our state has some room to improve when it comes to reporting other information, such as how well students are able to stick with their postsecondary education plans.

To assess college and career readiness, Achieve notes that Washington uses Smarter Balanced assessments to understand whether students are learning skills and concepts they’ll need to graduate high school with options. The assessment measures skills like critical thinking, writing, and problem solving that students need to master as they prepare for postsecondary education and careers.

According to the Achieve report, “Before we can improve high school graduates’ readiness for success, educators, parents, and states have to have a complete picture of how students are actually doing.” Breaking down results for different groups of students, like Washington does for several measures, allows education leaders and the state to better direct resources to support students who are struggling and improve education opportunities for all of Washington’s kids.

Smarter Balanced assessments provide one key element of the “complete picture” of our students’ progress here in Washington. Smarter Balanced results help empower students, families and teachers to ensure kids graduate high school ready to pursue whatever path they choose.

Find out more from Achieve here. And after you’ve had a chance to look at the data, take the quiz to test your knowledge!