Principals report on ISTEP results at school board meeting

393

Each year students around the state in different grade levels are required to take the Indiana State Test for Educational Progress – more commonly known as ISTEP. The results of this testing is used at both the state and national level to determine if children are learning at an acceptable rate, and what steps need to be taken to improve the overall educational system.

At Monday night’s meeting of the Switzerland County School Board, each of this county’s four building principals made presentations regarding the testing that was done in their building.

Although all of the principals cited the need and desire to continue improvement trends, overall the test results were favorable when compared with the state averages.

*

– At Switzerland County High School, principal Candis Haskell told the school board that the test is taken by freshmen; and the Graduation Qualifying Exam – the GQE – is also taken by all sophomores and any juniors and seniors who have not yet passed both sections.

The GQE is required by the state for a student to earn a diploma.

In the ninth grade testing, local students were above the state average in both language arts and math. Here, 63-percent of the students taking the test passed the language arts portion, compared with a state average of 62-percent. A score of 521 out of a possible 800 was needed to pass.

In math, 55-percent of Switzerland County High School students passed, compared to the state average of 52-percent. A score of 541 was needed to pass the math portion.

Principal Haskell noted that Switzerland County students are below the state average in the “Pass+” category – the number of students who not only pass the test, but do very well. She said that her staff is working on ways to help those strong students do even better and gain the “Pass+” standing.

To be “Pass+” in language arts, a student needed to score at least 644 – which three percent of this freshman class did, compared to six percent statewide. In math, to be included in “Pass+” a student needed a score of at least 643. Here, 12-percent of the freshman achieved that level, compared to 15-percent across the state.

For the sophomore class taking the GQE, Candis Haskell reported that 69-percent of the students passed the English/language arts portion, compared to a state average of 64-percent. In math, Switzerland County sophomores passed at a rate of 54-percent; compared to the state’s average of 53-percent.

To pass the GQE, a student needs a score of at least 551 in language arts and 586 in math. To be in the “Pass+” category, the language arts score must be at least 664 and the math score must be at or over 683. Here, one percent earned “Pass+” in language arts, compared to three percent statewide; and in math, here the “Pass+” students were five percent; compared to 12-percent across the state.

– At Switzerland County Middle School, Principal Nancy Stearns reported on testing from all three grade levels. She compared test scores from the students as they have progressed through the school system; and also compared how grade levels did year to year.

In the sixth grade, this year 74-percent of students passed the language arts portion of the exam; over the state average of 72-percent. In math, 78-percent passed here, compared to the state average of 81-percent.

Those scores represented a rise in the language arts percentage over last year; but a slight drop in the math percentage.

For the seventh graders, Principal Stearns reported that this year 71-percent of students passed the language arts portion of the exam; over the state average of 69-percent. In math, 85-percent passed here, compared to the state average of 78-percent.

Those scores represented a rise in both the language arts and math percentages over last year.

The seventh graders also are tested in science, and this year 42-percent passed the science portion, compared to a state average of 55-percent. The principal said that her science staff was quite surprised by the scores, and are already working on identifying where the problems fell.

The eighth grade scores were also a concern for Principal Stearns and her staff, as she told the school board that the test scores were “substantially down” from last year.

This year, 58-percent of students passed the language arts portion of the exam; over the state average of 68-percent. In math, 62-percent passed here, compared to the state average of 72-percent.

Last year’s eighth graders had a percentage of 65-percent in language arts and 74-percent in math.

– At Switzerland County Elementary, the test scores continue to be excellent, with Principal Elizabeth Jones and Title I teacher Amy Bovard showing the board extensive data which breaks the testing down over several different categories. Testing was done in grade three, four, and five.

This year in grade three, 86-percent of students passed the language arts; while math also saw a passing rate of 86-percent. With “Pass+”, SCES had 10-percent of its students achieve this high ranking in language arts; and nine percent in math in the third grade. Two students earned “Pass+” recognition in both areas of the test.

This year in grade four, 83-percent of students passed the language arts; while math also saw a passing rate of 83-percent. With “Pass+”, SCES had 10-percent of its students achieve this high ranking in language arts; and also 10-percent in math in the fourth grade. One student earned “Pass+” recognition in both areas of the test.

This year in grade five, 79-percent of students passed the language arts; while math saw a passing rate of 81-percent. Students in the fifth grade were also tested in science, with 79-percent of SCES student passing.

With “Pass+”, SCES had seven percent of its students achieve this high ranking in language arts; nine percent in math; and nine percent in science in the fifth grade.

– Principal Darrell Hansel reported on the scores at Jefferson-Craig Elementary School, which also saw testing in grades three, four, and five. He was assisted by Title I teacher Sara Pavy.

This year in grade three, 75-percent of students passed the language arts, “which alarmed us”, Darrell Hansel said. In math, Jeff-Craig saw a passing rate of 88-percent. With “Pass+”, SCES had 10-percent of its students achieve this high ranking in language arts; and 20-percent in math in the third grade. Two students earned “Pass+” recognition in both areas of the test.

This year in grade four, 95-percent of students passed the language arts; while math also saw a passing rate of 95-percent. With “Pass+”, Jeff-Craig had 27-percent of its students achieve this high ranking in language arts; and also 12-percent in math in the fourth grade. Three students earned “Pass+” recognition in both areas of the test.

This year in grade five, 85-percent of students passed the language arts; while math saw a passing rate of 91-percent. Students in the fifth grade were also tested in science, with 78-percent of SCES student passing.

With “Pass+”, Jeff-Craig had 115-percent of its students achieve this high ranking in language arts; 15-percent in math; and 13-percent in science in the fifth grade. Two students earned “Pass+” recognition in all three areas of the test.

*

More complete data and test results are available at each of the schools.