The Washington Post

Fairfax reading and writing scores decline

Almost all Fairfax County minority students scored above their peers in other Virginia schools on the mandated Standards of Learning tests on reading and writing last year. The pass rate for Hispanic students in Fairfax, 70 percent, was identical to the statewide pass rate in writing.

Almost all Fairfax students achieved better passing rates than the statewide average in math except for Hispanic students — of whom 61 percent passed compared to the Virginia average of 64 percent.

Overall, Fairfax students last year saw declining pass rates in reading and writing and stagnant pass rates in math compared with the year before. The new reading and writing tests for the 2012-13 school year were based on more rigorous standards that also judged students’ problem solving and critical thinking abilities.

The decline in reading and writing passing rates for 2012-13 mirrored a similar decrease seen across the county for math pass rates from the 2011-12 year, when more stringent standards were introduced for those tests as well.

A total of 82 percent of Fairfax students passed the reading tests compared to 75 percent of their peers across Virginia. The white students pass rate in Fairfax, 90 percent, beat the statewide average by eight points. About 68 percent of black students passed the reading test in Fairfax compared with 59 percent statewide.

Compared with 2011-12, however, all Fairfax student groups saw declines. The pass rate for black students dropped by 20 points and for Hispanic students by 21 points. White students saw a seven-point drop, and Asian students realized an eight-point drop in reading pass rates.

In all tests, poor students in Fairfax lagged behind all other student groups in the county. In reading and writing, the pass rate for poor students was 19 points behind the pass rate for all students. In math, the pass rate for poor students was 18 points lower than the county.

Here’s the 2012-13 reading pass rates for Fairfax students compared to the rest of Virginia:

All students: FCPS 82; VA 75

Black students: FCPS 68; VA 59

Hispanic students: FCPS 66; VA 65

Asian students: FCPS 88; VA 87

White students: FCPS 90; VA 82

Economically disadvantaged students: FCPS 63; VA 59

Limited English proficient: FCPS 59; VA 54

Students with disabilities: FCPS 56; VA 43

For a more complete breakdown by race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status for last year’s SOLs go here.

T. Rees Shapiro is an education reporter.



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