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Archive for Thursday, August 30, 2007

School assessments mostly good news

Proficiency targets met in tests, but ‘problematic areas’ remain

August 30, 2007

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Terry McEwen and Kim Bodensteiner discuss the AYP results

Terry McEwen and Kim Bodensteiner, Lawrence district administrators, explain the AYP results revealed Wednesday. Enlarge video

New numbers show Lawrence schools are making progress in ensuring no child is left behind

School district leaders released results today from last year's state assessment standards for reading and math. Those tests - known as Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, - fall under the federal 'No Child Left Behind Act.' Enlarge video

It's a mixed bag for the Lawrence school district.

School district leaders on Wednesday released results from last year's state assessments for reading and math - known as Adequate Yearly Progress, or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

District leaders celebrated because all elementary schools and Free State High School met all proficiency targets in tests taken last spring.

"We have done a darn good job of getting there. We do have a couple of problematic areas that we know about. We are poised to deal with this," said Terry McEwen, director of assessment for the Lawrence district.

The district's four junior high schools missed AYP targets in more than one category. And Lawrence High School missed the goals with only special education students on the math test. Districtwide, students scored proficiently in every student group, except for special education students in reading.

District leaders also said 90 percent of students were meeting state assessment standards at nine elementary schools in reading and at six elementary schools in math. McEwen and Kim Bodensteiner, the district's chief academic officer, also touted other strategies the district has adopted to help students and teachers, including Measures of Academic Progress.

That measure tracks a student's progress over several years, as opposed to state assessments, which only provide something of a snapshot at one point in time, Bodensteiner said.

Higher targets

These are the proficiency targets districts are shooting for:

¢ In reading, 69.5 percent for third- through eighth-graders and 65 percent for high schoolers.

¢ In math, 66.8 percent for third- through eighth-graders and 55.7 percent for high schoolers.

Under federal law, standards increase every year until 2014, when 100 percent of students must be proficient in reading and math.

Last year, the district met all AYP goals except for special education students in reading at South and Southwest junior high schools and special education students in math at Southwest.

Will Fernandez, South's principal, said secondary school principals are concentrating on evaluating each school's reading scores and soon will focus on math.

That way, they can share strategies to help teachers.

He said as proficiency benchmarks increase annually, it will be tougher for schools to meet all standards.

"You've just got to meet kids where they're at and move them along," Fernandez said.

At Lawrence schools, the results currently don't put any funding in danger because all of the district's Title 1 schools - which receive federal funds for having a certain number of students eligible for free- or reduced-price lunches - met the standards.

Performance details

Adequate Yearly Progress measures the performance of entire schools and of groups within schools.

Here are some details about Lawrence schools:

¢ All Lawrence elementary schools and Free State High School met all standards in reading and math.

¢ Central Junior High School missed standards in reading and math. Students on free- or reduced-price lunch and students with disabilities also didn't meet math and reading standards.

¢ South Junior High School missed standards in math. Students receiving reduced-price lunches, students with disabilities and black students failed to meet reading and math standards. White students failed to meet math standards.

¢ Southwest Junior High School students receiving free- or reduced-price lunch, along with English-language learners, did not meet standards in reading and math.

¢ West Junior High School students receiving free- or reduced-price lunches, students with disabilities and black students did not meet math standards.

¢ Districtwide, students met almost all targets, but students with disabilities did not meet reading standards.

Source: Lawrence public schools

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