To the editor:
Ben Watanabe’s article published on June 28, “South Whidbey High School trails state in test scores,” is erroneous and problematic. He compares two very different sets of data, then as seen in his title, hypothesizes that SWHS is trailing the state in test scores.
To be fair and accurate, Mr. Watanabe should have compared HSPE reading and writing scores from the same time frame. For example, as sophomores, SWHS’s class of 2013 had HSPE scores of 85.7 percent in reading and 92.3 percent in writing. During this same time frame, state HSPE averages for reading were 82.6 percent and writing 86.3 percent. Trailing no, leading, yes.
Mr. Watanabe also cited preliminary state-level data released by State Superintendent Randy Dorn, that more than 93 percent of Washington’s 12th-grade students in the Class of 2013 passed both the state reading and writing high school proficiency exams (HSPE), or state-approved alternatives, prior to reaching their respective graduation ceremonies. Mr. Watanabe failed to share that SWHS’s class of 2013 had a 100 percent pass rate by this same measure. Again, trailing no, leading, yes.
Unfortunately, often times a school’s reputation is centered around high stakes testing scores. It is imperative that scores are accurately and truthfully reported to the public in a responsible and thoughtful manner. Over the past several years, SWHS has exceeded state testing averages in every subject area. This success is representative of our students, teachers, staff, parents and community. We are hopeful that a retraction and/or correction to this article will be published.
Jo Moccia, superintendent
John Patton, SWHS principal