IV test scores show room to improve
The annual progress report presented to the Iowa Valley School Board Sept. 21 shows that IV students test scores dropped in some areas and improved dramatically in other subjects.
The IV School District must make an annual progress report to the Iowa Department of Education. The report shows the school’s improvement based off of results from at least one district wide assessment. The desired goal is for students in grades 4, 8 and 11 to improve in mathematics, reading and science.
“One of the purposes of the APR is to foster discussions,” said IV Superintendent Alan Jensen. “It sets the tone for the community that test scores have their relevant place. They are not all of the important things. I don’t think you want to adopt that philosophy. But it is important to us to have our kids perform as well as they can.”
The 2008-2009 IV fourth graders tested higher than the 2007-2008 fourth graders, with 83.3 percent of the class testing proficient in reading, an increase of 2 percent.
However, only 48.9 percent of the 2008-2009 eighth graders tested proficient in reading, while 71.4 percent of the 2007-2008 eighth grade class tested proficient, a decrease of 22.5 percent.
“We don’t even have half of the (eighth grade) kids proficient, not even half,” said IV President Jane Fry. “Just as a temperature taking, this is a pretty bad temp to have. It’s like comatose.”
The 2008-2009 Iowa Valley 11th grade class also saw a decline in reading proficiency. Barely half, or 53.7, of the class tested proficient in reading, down from 76.6 percent the year before.
The math scores for IV fourth, eighth and 11th graders declined across the board from 2007-2008 to 2008-2009.
IV Elementary Principal Cindy Miller noted that the 2008-2009 class did test well, only the 2007-2008 classes tested exceptionally well.
The 2007-2008 fourth, eighth and 11th grade classes tested at a proficiency of 85.4 percent, 85.7 percent and 93.6 percent in math respectively.
The 2008-2009 fourth, eighth and 11th grade classes tested at a proficiency of 83.3 percent, 66.6 percent and 72.2 percent in math respectively.
The 2008-2009 fourth grade class was nearly 100 percent proficient in science. Of the class, 97.5 percent tested proficient, compared to 85.4 percent in 2007-2008.
In the eighth grade class, 55.5 percent tested proficient in 2008-2009, a drop of over 30 percent from the previous year. The 2007-2008 fourth grade class tested 85.7 percent proficient in science.
The 11th grade class also dropped in proficiency, but the 2007-2008 class was a hard act to follow. The 2007-2008 11th grade class tested 93.6 percent proficient, while 77.8 percent of the 2008-2009 class tested proficient in science.
IV Elementary principal Miller said the school continues to help students improve upon their standardized testing.
“We did add second chance reading to the sixth grade, so we have been doing many things that are different and we need to monitor how those affect the students,” she said.
The Iowa Valley School District provides K-6 at risk after school tutorial program for those students who would benefit from additional academic assistance. The program is staffed by elementary teachers who have volunteered to provide this service after school.
The secondary provides learning assistance each period of the day in the learning center. Students can receive help voluntarily in the center or teachers can refer students to the center for assistance. The learning center is staffed by certified teachers throughout the school day. Students are also referred to after school homework support if they do not turn in school assignments on time.
All districts are required to report reading and mathematics through another assessment besides the ITBS. Last year, Iowa Valley implemented MAP (Measures of Academic Performance) testing.
MAP tests are taken on a computer. Every time the student answers a question correctly, the test becomes harder. Every time the student answers a question wrong, the test becomes easier.
Every time you get a right answer, it increasingly gets tougher. They progressively get harder, and progressively lower the level if they continue missing it, so kids don’t feel so frustrated,” Jensen said. “If you are an easy test taker and that’s your bag, you won’t like it, because it challenges you all the time and it gets to the point where there is not an easy question because it gets harder and harder.”
According to the results of the MAP testing, overall, IV students are testing as poorly as the ITBS and ITED results indicate.
On the MAP testing, the fourth and fifth grade classes tested above the standardized score, while the IV third graders and sixth, seventh, eighth and 11th graders scored just below the standardized scores.
In the math section of the MAP testing, the third, fourth, fifth and sixth grade class scored above the standardized score, while the seventh, eighth and 11th grade class scored just below the standardized score.
“They don’t look near as bad as what they do on the ITEDs,” said IV Junior-Senior High School Principal Shawn Kreman. “This is all on computer, which the other is paper and pencil. For some kids, that makes a big difference.”
POST SECONDARY SUCCESS INDICATORS
The annual progress report also included information about the probability of post-secondary success among Iowa Valley students.
Twenty-five students took the ACT test in 2008-2009 school year. Sixteen of those students achieved a score of 20 or higher, which indicates probable post-secondary success.
DROP OUT DATA
This is the 2007-2008, so it goes back another year. In which the drop out counts are as they start as freshmen and dropped out at some point during their high school year. A total of four drop outs in grades 7-12 out of a total of 327 students or 1.22 percent.
UPDATED September 23, 2009 9:52 AM