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September 18, 2013

ISTEP scores are settled

Local school districts finally get test numbers, with mixed results



West Clark was one of two school corporations to show an overall gain in students passing both portions in 2013 over 2012, with 71.5 percent passing this year, up 0.3 percentage points.

“We have a couple of areas we want to work on, but we did have some really shining points,” said John Reed, West Clark’s assistant superintendent.

Reed pointed to the passing rates for third grade students at Borden Elementary at 87 percent for language arts and 96.3 percent in math. He added that scores for fifth grade students across the district, especially in math, were impressive.

Henryville passed at a 93.9 percent rate, Silver Creek passed at an 85.8 percent rate and Borden passed at a 95.8 percent rate. The state average was 85 percent.

Reed cited the teachers for doing an exceptional job and added that the district is focusing on an effort to improve reading comprehension.

He said the plan is to use computerized, self-paced programs to help improve future scores. The focus for West Clark will be on kindergarten through second grade to make sure the students are at the third grade reading level by end of that year.

Reed added that the level at which the state reset the cutoff scores for language arts may have had an impact on the passage rates dropping slightly across the districts in the area, including West Clark.

“It can affect the numbers of kids that pass,” he said.

Another anomaly for this year’s ISTEP+ results was that it did not reflect the Acuity testing that the district conducted earlier in the year.

“The kids did better on ISTEP+ than Acuity said they would do,” he said. “In the past it has been a pretty good predictor of how the students would do on ISTEP+.”

While Reed is not complaining, he said it is something he will look into.

“I’m not disappointed in anything, I’m very satisfied with it,” he said of the overall test results.

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Judy Lunsford works on a lesson plan for her students with fellow teachers, Ellen Rothstein and Adam Stephens, in her classroom at Northaven Elementary in Jeffersonville Wednesday afternoon. Lunsford, a new addition to Northaven, will be teaching second grade.

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