By JEROD CLAPP
> SOUTHERN INDIANA —
It’s tough to compare the results right now, but so far, IREAD-3 scores in Clark and Floyd counties are looking mostly up.
The test is administered twice a year — once in the spring and once in the summer. Third-graders who don’t pass the first time around are given another opportunity.
Though the first round of results are either approaching or exceeding the 80 percent range for all four districts in the area, officials in each corporation said they hope to break 90 percent after the next testing window.
Under her first year as principal of Clarksville Elementary School, Kim Baumann said she’s pleased with the first round’s passing percentage of 87.2. Though it represents a drop of just more than 1 percentage point from last year, she said she expects all of her students pass IREAD this summer.
“Our teachers are very focused on their reading instruction and delivering it where the students’ needs are,” Baumann said. “Clarksville does a really good job of really attacking reading and getting it done; they know what it takes.”
Students who didn’t pass were identified and put into extra blocks of literacy instruction and will attend a reading camp before the test starts again in June.
But considering it’s her first year in the school’s top spot, she said she’s happy with the work of students and teachers.
“I’m thrilled,” Baumann said. “I’m very proud of the students, I’m very proud of the teachers — they have just amazed me this year on their hard work.
“I didn’t know what to expect coming in. We look at data all year long in very different realms. Sometimes, the data makes you leery as to what the results will be, but I’m just thrilled to death.”
With 87.5 percent of their students passing in the first round this year, Greater Clark is poised to best last year’s combined spring-summer score on IREAD.
Karen Spencer, supervisor of assessment for the district, said after last year’s second testing window, 89.3 percent of their students passed IREAD. This year, they hope to get into the 90s.
“Literacy has really been a focus for the last two years, especially in those early grades,” Spencer said. “I think our goal is that we will have those students ready for that third grade test before they get there, that is our hope.”
She said the schools are mostly doing very well on the test. Three schools, Utica Elementary, New Washington Elementary and Pleasant Ridge Elementary, topped 90 percent. All but two of the remaining schools scored into the 80s.
Spencer said In the case of Bridgepoint Elementary, student population worked against its score. At 79.1 percent of students passing, one more student would have brought them over the 80 percent threshold. Only 43 students were tested.
But Parkwood Elementary came in at 77.5 percent passing. Spencer said the biggest challenge there is the mobility of that student population and the number of students who are English language learners.
She said while some of those students — especially those who came into the district late into the school year — would have the chance for an exemption from ISTEP+, they still have to take IREAD.
“Parkwood’s Hispanic population has increased tremendously,” Spencer said. “They will be eligible for waivers after they retest, so they would fall in that group that could be waivered. They’ve actually acquired some this year that were brand new to the country who’ve never been to the United States.”
But she said with the district’s IMPACT plan to remediate students who failed before the summer window, coupled with two weeks of summer school for third-graders, they’re hoping to perform better than last year.
NEW ALBANY-FLOYD COUNTY
Down slightly out of last year’s spot in the 90s, New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated School Corp.’s scores came in at 88.4 percent.
Sally Jensen, director of assessment and student information, said they’re not giving up on where they could score after the summer testing window.
“We are about a point and a half down from last year, but here’s the thing: We feel like we absolutely need to stay the course we’re on because we see kids making some good results,” Jensen said. “The bottom line is that some kids need some extra time and support.”
Four of the district’s schools exceeded the 90 percent mark — Georgetown Elementary, Greenville Elementary, Grant Line Elementary and Floyds Knobs Elementary.
While Fairmont and S. Ellen Jones elementaries were the only ones that didn’t reach into the 80s, Jensen said some factors come into play with their scores.
She said some Fairmont students haven’t had a chance to catch up with the language.
“At Fairmont, keep in mind that regardless of how long you’ve been immersed in the English language, you still have to take this test,” Jensen said. “That school is our magnet for English language learners, but you have to take that test regardless of when you came to us.”
She said S. Ellen Jones has a high rate of mobility — students moving in and out of the school — but the ones who are there from kindergarten on tend to perform well on the test.
She said though the goal is to keep scores as high as possible, she’s not disappointed with this year’s results. However, she said she’s excited to see where they perform after this summer.
“We’re pleased that we continue to hold where we are,” Jensen said. “We always want to be above the 90 range. Once you get there, you want to stay there, so we’ll just keep on working until we’re there all the time. Our goal, bottom line, is we want every kiddo to get over the bar.
“This is foundational reading, one of the most important skills they’ll ever have.”
Officials at West Clark Community Schools weren’t able to return phone calls by deadline.
The district’s score was 77.8 percent passing. Henryville Elementary scored 78.4 percent, Silver Creek Elementary scored 77.5 percent and Borden Elementary scored 77.8 percent.