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September 26, 2013

Figuring out the ISTEP figures

NA-FC Schools’ officials to study impact of interruptions on ISTEP scores



Though the overall scores for the district were down, some schools saw big gains over last year’s scores.

Grant Line Elementary School had the most overall improvement over the most subject areas. With only third grade math faltering by six percentage points, the gains in every other category ranged from .4 percentage points to more than 7 percentage points from last year.

While S. Ellen Jones Elementary School’s third-grade scores in math dropped the most out of any school in the district, its fourth graders saw the biggest gains overall. Math improved by 15.2 percentage points, E/LA improved by 24.5 percentage points and students passing both subjects jumped by 24.8 percentage points.

Two schools had drops in every category, but their scores never fell below 84-percent passing. Georgetown Elementary and Floyds Knobs Elementary were the only elementary schools without any improvement over last year.

Scribner Middle School lost footing in every category for grades five through eight, but the other middle schools showed ups and downs.

“It was really hit and miss for us this year,” Jensen said. “They might have been down in one area and up in another. There are pockets in a certain grade level at a certain school that maybe we didn’t see that coming, but we’re looking at those anomalies. An elementary school, depending on its size, could be a shift of four or five percent within a couple of students. That makes a big difference.”


Jensen said with ISTEP results all over the place, there’s not a push to change the direction the district has taken to improving scores in any given grade level. Instead, it’s going to keep doing what it’s been doing.

“There’s not a key area,” Jensen said. “What we’re going to do is to delve into writing pieces. We want to make sure kids have to do a writing prompt. It’s scored on a six-point rubric and we want kids performing at the top.

She said her department will pore over the data to see if the students performed where they thought they should have on the writing prompts, along with the rest of the figures.

Though that’s going to take months, Jensen said they’re going to make sure they’ve covered every problem that might have happened. Otherwise, they’re going to make sure they continue giving students the help they need.

“The way we operate is by name and by need,” Jensen said. “We try to name every student with their specific need, and that’s what we do in a professional learning community.”

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