ISTEP results 'record breaking' this year

MARSHALL CO. — Scores from standardized testing of Indiana’s students are being called “record breaking” following an announcement from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Tony Bennett.
Bennett announced this week this is the third successive year of all-time highs on literally every portion of the ISTEP+ (Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress Plus) tests.
Making the announcement at a Statehouse recognition ceremony, Bennett said, “Hoosiers from all walks of like should greet this news with a standing ovation.”
Bennett credits Indiana teachers with much of the gains. He said, “Thanks to efforts of Indiana’s teachers, we’re successfully educating a new generation of leaders and innovators who will build a more prosperous future for our state.”
According to the IDOE (Indiana Department of Education), overall 71 percent of Hoosier students passed both the English Language Arts (LA) and Math portions of the during the 2011-12 school year. The totals show a gain of 1 percent over the previous school year and an 8 percent increase since the 2008-09 school year.
As the state switched from testing in the fall to testing in the spring, students were given the test in the fall of 2008-09 school year and then again in the spring of the same school year.
Perhaps even more noteworthy is the fact the 80 percent of students demonstrated proficiency on at least one of the four subjects tested. Those passing the math portion reached 81 percent, up nine percent from the 2008-09 school year.
Each year approximately 500,000 students are tested in grades 3-8. High school students are now tested at the end of the courses being taught to determine mastery.
More than 329,000 students (approximately 66 percent of those taking the tests) took all multiple choice portions of the test online. IDOE has been working with school corporations and other schools over the last several years to build test-taking capacity. According to the IDOE, in the spring of 2012, just over 1,500 students took the text on computers.
According to the IDOE, the goal of ISTEP+ is to measure how wells students perform, including comprehension of the skills and content. Indiana has a set of academic standards that each school must teach.
Culver Schools Superintendent Brad Schuldt said they had mixed results.
“We are exceptionally pleased with the scores at our elementary, grades 3-6,” he said. “We had the largest percentage of gain in Marshall County and the first time that both the English Language Arts and Math scores were both up.”
In LA, Culver had 83 percent passing and math at 88 percent passing. The scores reflected an increase from last year of 5.04 percent in LA, 7.39 percent in math, and 8.82 percent in the combined LA and Math scores.
Schuldt said, “We had a tremendous focus on addressing the common core (standards). It shows our support for teachers and kids.”
However, the ISTEP scores for the middle school-grades 7-8- were not as good. The Language Arts score was at 63 percent and math, 73.3 percent. Schuldt said the combined scores of 54 percent were disappointing: “In a small school, even a few scores from a few students can fluctuate the total.”
He said the schools have already held preliminary meeting where they reviewed their successes and looked for changes to put in place.
Plymouth School Corporation also saw some ups and downs. Superintendent Daniel Tyree said, “We have some scores that we are thrilled with and others that remind us we still have work to do. Schools and grade levels that were below expectations started to work the day after the results were announced. Parents expect their children to have the best possible education every year. That is our goal as well.”
Corporation-wide, the Language Arts score was at 83.3 percent, reflecting an increase of 2.1 percent. However, the math score and the combined scores took a small dip. The overall math score was at 84.9 percent, down 2.3 percent and the combined total was at 76.7. percent, a decrease of 1.4 percent.
Scores for individual elementary schools-testing of grades 3-4- were as follows: Menominee Elementary: LA, 84.1 percent, math, 84.8 percent and combined, 78.3 percent; Jefferson Elementary: LA, 85.8 percent, math, 72.6 percent and combined, 69.8 percent; Washington Elementary: LA, 95. 3 percent, math, 86.8 percent, and both, 84.5 percent; Webster Elementary: LA, 96.1 percent, math, and 92.9 percent and combined, 91.3 percent.
Riverside Intermediate showed 82.8 percent passing LA, 89.6 percent passing math, and combined 78.1 percent passing.
Lincoln Junior High had a 77 percentage passing percentage in LA, 79.9 percent passing math and 70.8 percent passing both.
LaVille Elementary in the Union-North United School Corporation-grades 3-6- had scores of 81.7 in LA, 86 in Math, and 77.1 combined.
Superintendent Mitch Mawhorter who came to the corporation earlier this year said, “We are looking into K-12 approach of organization.”
Among other measures, he plans to have teachers meet in the mornings to discuss and help plan curriculum changes, ways to increase attendance, and raise test scores. Newly hired LaVille Jr.-Sr. high school Principal Jeremy Tucker comes to the corporation from Washington in South Bend. Mawhorter said, “He has been through the remediation process and we expect that he will be of great value.”
Other Marshall County Schools had similar results.
Triton Elementary, grades 3-6 testing had 81.4 percent passing in LA, 87.1 percent passing math, and 77.4 percent passing combined.
Argos Elementary grades3-6 testing had 78.8 percent in LA passing, 79.8 percent in math passing, and 70 percent in the combined scores.
Bremen grades 3-8- had 85.6 percent in LA, 88.8 percent in math, and 80.6 percent combined.
North Liberty Elementary in the John Glenn Corporation had 82.3 percent passing in LA, 84.3 percent passing math and 75.6 percent in both. Walkerton Elementary had 77.5 percent in LA, 89.1 percent in math, and 73.7 in combined scores. Urey Middle School showed 75.6 percent in LA, 80.1 percent in math and 69.2 percent in combined scores.