Grant County schools ranked by graduation rate, test scores

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OLYMPIA — Washington’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction recently released its annual school report cards, grading school districts on recent graduation rates and test scores. The report offers a look at where students in Grant County are most likely to graduate and do well on standardized testing.

Four-year graduation rates are based on 2017 data, five-year graduation rates are based on 2016 data, and test scores are based on data from the 2017-2018 school year.

Four-year graduation rates indicates how likely it is that students will graduate from high school after four years. Among districts with over 200 students, Ephrata School District tops the charts among Grant County districts with an 89.4 percent graduation rate, 10 percent higher than the statewide average.

Other than Ephrata, only Quincy School District has a four-year graduation rate high than the statewide average, at 79.9 percent, though Royal School District is close at 79.3 percent. Warden School District had the lowest four-year graduation rate, at 75 percent.

For five-year graduation rates, which indicate how likely it is that students will graduate if given an extra year in high school, Ephrata once again tops the chart at 95.2 percent, almost 13 percent more likely than the statewide average. That means almost 6 percent more students who need extra time will graduate at Ephrata when given the extra year.

Wahluke School District, on the other hand, has the lowest five-year graduation rate among Grant County school districts, at 76.5 percent, the same as the district’s four-year graduation rate. This indicates that a student who does not graduate from Wahluke after four years will not graduate if given an extra year.

On the flip side, though Warden School District students are the least likely to graduate in four-years, the jump in graduation rates when students are given an extra year is the county’s largest. The five-year graduation rate in the Warden district is 88.3 percent, almost 5 percent higher than the state average and a 13.3 percent jump from the district’s four-year rate.

Though Ephrata School District’s five-year graduation rate is higher, the jump from four-year to five-year is less than 6 percent. Though the jump is less than half that of Warden, it’s the county’s second highest increase.

Among standardized test scores administered to eighth-grade students, almost all school districts in Grant County did worse than the statewide average. Ephrata School District topped the state average with eighth-grade math and science scores, but faltered with eighth-grade English scores, performing around 3 percent lower than Washington as a whole.

In every other district but Ephrata, scores were below average, generally ranging from Moses Lake School District at the top and Warden at the bottom. For instance, Moses Lake School District students passed eighth-grade math testing 9 percent less often than the average student in the state; Warden School District students given the same test passed more than 30 percent less often than the average Washington student.

Other notable stats from the OSPI’s report: Ephrata School District has the lowest percentage of low-income (52.5 percent) or Hispanic students (32.5 percent) of districts ranked in this article. Wahluke has the highest ratio of both, with 96.1 percent of students qualifying as low-income and 96.4 percent of students identifying as Hispanic or Latino. For the most part, districts in Grant County with larger Hispanic/Latino populations or that have more low-income students have worse graduation rates.

Note: all rankings provided are for districts with over 200 students, which excludes Almira School District and Coulee-Hartline School District. The next smallest school district, Warden School District, has just under 1000 students.

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