Archive for Saturday, September 5, 2009

District welcomes yearly progress report

Many students in Lawrence have improved test scores drastically in the past year.

September 5, 2009


Lawrence public schools are well on their way to getting all of their students to be proficient in reading and math by 2014, as laid out in the No Child Left Behind Act.

Results for the 2008-2009 school year were released by the district Friday. Including the Lawrence Virtual School, all but one school in the district made adequate yearly progress, or AYP, in both reading and math in all 10 subgroups.

The one exception was Lawrence High School. The students with disabilities subgroup was short of meeting standards in both reading and math. The district as a whole was not able to meet standards in the same subgroup in both subjects.

For the 2007-2008 school year, two elementary schools, three junior highs and both high schools didn’t meet standards.

“Last year we had a variety of subgroups who had not made the AYP targets, but this year we only have one subgroup in that situation,” said Terry McEwen, the district’s division director of assessments. “We see so much improvement and we’re really excited about our results.”

To meet AYP, schools and districts have to reach annual targets on the state reading and math assessment tests for all students in grades three through eight and one time in high school. There are also goals for attendance, participation and graduation rates.

The target percentage of students needing to meet standards on the tests is higher each year — ultimately looking to 2014, the year the No Child Left Behind Act calls for each school district to have 100 percent AYP.

“It’s incremental. The Kansas State Board of Education was very strategic in the way that they designed our targets,” McEwen said.

Chief academic officer Kim Bodensteiner noted many programs may have contributed to the students’ success, including a new credit recovery program introduced at the high schools this summer, more before- and after-school tutoring, learning coaches and Measures of Academic Progress, or MAP, testing.

“While the scores are important, our focus has really been on: Can students do those kinds of things they need to be successful learners?” Bodensteiner said.

Some schools exceeded the set percentages for the school year.

For grades three through eight, 79.9 percent of students must be proficient in reading and 77.8 percent must meet standards in math. For high schools and the district as a whole, 76.7 percent of students must hit targets in reading and 70.5 percent need to be proficient in math.

Five elementary schools had more than 90 percent of students at or above standard level in reading and math. Two junior highs accomplished that in reading.

“The performance this year has just really been really solid,” McEwen said. “We’re pretty happy with the results.”


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