BEND, Ore. - Bad news for Oregon schools: Fewer students are passing standardized tests, and writing seems to be the most difficult subject.
According to the Oregon Department of Education test results out Thursday, only 60 percent of high school juniors statewide passed the writing exam.
And schools around the High desert are in no better shape.
About 61 percent of Redmond juniors passed the state's essay writing test -- that's down from 66 percent last year.
Bend La-Pine Schools saw an even larger drop -- from 73 percent to 63 percent.
NewsChannel 21 spoke with school principals who are concerned with the scores and say they're working on new curriculum to boost students' writing skills.
A Bend nonprofit dedicated to literary arts and creative writing is also following the reports with concern.
The Nature of Words Executive Director Amy Mentuck said she's troubled that younger people are increasingly lacking good writing skills, and hopes schools will increase efforts to make writing more fun.
"What we're seeing is a real hunger for creative writing programs in the schools, kind of a break from the focus on test-taking and the benchmarks," Mentuck said.
If you're worried about your child's writing skills ,or just want to give them more options, the Nature of Words is offering free writing workshops twice a week in Bend.
Sessions are from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. each Monday and Thursday. Nature of Words is located at 224 NW Oregon Ave in Bend.
For Assessment Results by district and school, go to:
Tune into NewsChannel 21 at 5 and 6 on Friday for an in-depth report on the Central Oregon students' writing scores, as well as reaction from school officials.