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home : news : news February 5, 2016

1/30/2014 3:00:00 PM
School Board hears report on ISTEP scores from last Spring

The Switzerland County School Board heard a report on how all four schools did on ISTEP scores at its meeting on Monday night.

The school's testing coordinator, Fred Ross, presented the board with a detailed analysis of each school based on the results of tests that were given to students last Spring. Based on a formula derived from testing percentages, each school was then given a letter grade by the state, A to F, based on performance and other factors.

And the results were mixed.

- Switzerland County Middle School earned an 'A' rating from the Indiana Department of Education. The students in grades seven and eight were tested in English/language arts; and in math.

For the seventh grade in English/language arts: Overall 86-percent of the seventh graders passed the English/language arts portion of the exam, which exceeds the state average of 74.2-percent. Here, 17-percent of SCMS seventh graders achieved "Pass+" status, which means they did exceptionally well.

For the seventh grade in math: Overall 95-percent of the seventh graders passed the math portion of the exam, which exceeds the state average of 81.2-percent. Also, 33-percent of SCMS seventh graders achieved "Pass+" status in math.

For the eighth grade in English/language arts: Overall 77-percent of the seventh graders passed the English/language arts portion of the exam, which exceeds the state average of 76.3-percent. Here, four-percent of SCMS eighth graders achieved "Pass+" status, which means they did exceptionally well.

For the eighth grade in math: Overall 87-percent of the seventh graders passed the math portion of the exam, which exceeds the state average of 81.3-percent. Also, 11-percent of SCMS eighth graders achieved "Pass+" status in math.

Using all of that data along with other variables, Switzerland County Middle School earned three points for its performance in English/language arts; and also earned four points for its performance in math. Along with that, the school earned a bonus point from the state in both areas because the bottom 25-percent of the students taking the exam showed high growth.

This gave the middle school a total of nine points, and when divided by two, gives the school an overall total of 4.5 on a 4.0 scale, earning it an 'A' grade.

Last year, Switzerland County Middle School earned a grade of 'B'.

- The formula for configuring a grade for Switzerland County High School is more complicated at the state level.

On Monday night Fred Ross told the school board that the testing of 10th graders was ranked, but the state also takes into account how those same students did on testing two years ago when they were eighth graders, even though it isn't the same test. Improvement over the two year period is then judged; and four different criteria: achievement in English/language arts; achievement in math; graduation rate of the school; and college or career readiness are then given weighted percentages. Data in those four categories is then multiplied by the weight of each; and those four numbers are added together for the school's score.

The high school then got that half-point back because of improvement in scores from the sophomore year to senior year in terms of students who did not pass as a sophomore and had to retake the exam.

In English/language arts, 64.5-percent of sophomores passed the test, compared to a pass rate of 74.2-percent when the class was in the eighth grade. Those statistics caused the school to lose one-half of a point.

Again, the high school then got that half-point back because students who graduated had improved since they were sophomores.

In math, 83.0-percent of sophomores passed the test, compared to a pass rate of 90.4-percent when the class was in the eighth grade. Those statistics caused the school to lose one-half of a point.

The high school did well with its 2012 graduation rate, which stood at 86-percent, just below the state average of 88.6-percent. In college or career readiness, Switzerland County High School had a rate of 32.5-percent; which was well above the state goal of 25-percent. This is the percentage of four year graduates who pass an AP exam, pass an IB exam, earn at least three college credits while in high school, and/or pass an industry certification exam.

After feeding those statistics into the formula, the high school ended with a score of 2.34 on a 4.0 scale, which earned the school a grade of 'C'.

Last year, Switzerland County High School earned a grade of 'D'.

- Switzerland County Elementary School also saw its DOE grade rise from last year. At SCES, students in grades three, four, and five took the exams.

In the third grade: in English/language arts 82-percent of Switzerland County Elementary School students passed the exam, just below the state average of 85-percent. The school saw three-percent of its students earn "Pass+" status.

In math, third grade students at SCES had a pass rate of 65-percent, below the state average of 80-percent. Switzerland County Elementary School had 11-percent of its third graders earn "Pass+" status in math.

In the fourth grade: in English/language arts 82-percent of Switzerland County Elementary School students passed the exam, just off of the state average of 84-percent. The school saw 13-percent of its students earn "Pass+" status.

In math, fourth grade students at SCES had a pass rate of 74-percent, below the state average of 84-percent. Switzerland County Elementary School had 11-percent of its fourth graders earn "Pass+" status in math.

Fourth grade students were tested in science, and at Switzerland County Elementary School 63-percent of students in the fourth grade passed, below the state average of 74-percent. At the school, seven-percent earned "Pass+" status in science.

In the fifth grade: in English/language arts 79-percent of Switzerland County Elementary School students passed the exam, which matched the state average of 79-percent. The school saw 21-percent of its students earn "Pass+" status.

In math, fifth grade students at SCES had a pass rate of 85-percent, just below the state average of 87-percent. Switzerland County Elementary School had an impressive 34-percent of its fifth graders earn "Pass+" status in math.

Fifth grade students also were tested in science, and at Switzerland County Elementary School 75-percent of students in the fourth grade passed, which was above the state average of 72-percent. At the school, 27-percent earned "Pass+" status in science.

Some elementary students take the IMAST exam, which is a modified version of the ISTEP test, and the results were promising.

At Switzerland County Elementary: 100-percent of third graders passed English/language arts and 100-percent passed math; 100-percent of fourth graders passed English/language arts, 100-percent passed math; and 100-percent passed the science test.

Also: 100-percent of fifth graders passed English/language arts, 100-percent passed math; and 50-percent passed the science test.

That data gave Switzerland County Elementary School an overall score of 3.00 for English/language arts; but the school lost one point because the school had too many students show low growth.

Fred Ross explained that students are put into a 'cohort' of students who score the same in a particular section of the test statewide. In future testing, the growth of each student is compared to how other students across the state who are in the same cohort also grow.

So even though Switzerland County Elementary School students showed growth on the tests (their scores got higher than the last time they took the test), the higher scores were not as high as others, so the school lost one point.

SCES got an overall score of 2.50 in math, and had no deductions. Combined and accounting for the penalty point, the school had a total score of 4.50, which when divided in half is a final score of 2.25, earning the school a 'C' grade.

Last year, Switzerland County Elementary School earned a grade of 'D'.



- The only school in the corporation to see its grade fall over the past year was Jefferson-Craig Elementary School. At Jeff-Craig, students in grades three, four, five, and six took the exams.

In the third grade: in English/language arts 86-percent of Jefferson-Craig Elementary School students passed the exam, just above the state average of 85-percent. The school saw 14-percent of its students earn "Pass+" status.

In math, third grade students at Jeff-Craig had a pass rate of 86-percent, again above the state average of 80-percent. Jefferson-Craig Elementary School had 17-percent of its third graders earn "Pass+" status in math.

In the fourth grade: in English/language arts 73-percent of Jefferson-Craig Elementary School students passed the exam, below the state average of 84-percent. The school saw 20-percent of its students earn "Pass+" status.

In math, fourth grade students at Jeff-Craig had a pass rate of 80-percent, below the state average of 84-percent. Jefferson-Craig Elementary School had 13-percent of its fourth graders earn "Pass+" status in math.

Fourth grade students were tested in science, and at Jefferson-Craig Elementary School 70-percent of students in the fourth grade passed, below the state average of 74-percent. At the school, 10-percent earned "Pass+" status in science.

In the fifth grade: in English/language arts 85-percent of Jefferson-Craig Elementary School students passed the exam, which topped the state average of 79-percent. The school saw 10-percent of its students earn "Pass+" status.

In math, fifth grade students at Jeff-Craig had a pass rate of 83-percent, just below the state average of 87-percent. Jefferson-Craig Elementary School had 13-percent of its fifth graders earn "Pass+" status in math.

Fifth grade students also were tested in science, and at Jefferson-Craig Elementary School 68-percent of students in the fifth grade passed, which was below the state average of 72-percent. At the school, 23-percent earned "Pass+" status in science.

In the sixth grade: in English/language arts 76-percent of Jefferson-Craig Elementary School students passed the exam, which was below the state average of 78-percent. The school saw 18-percent of its students earn "Pass+" status.

In math, sixth grade students at Jeff-Craig had a pass rate of 72-percent, which was below the state average of 84-percent. Jefferson-Craig Elementary School had eight-percent of its sixth graders earn "Pass+" status in math.

Sixth grade students also were tested in science, and at Jefferson-Craig Elementary School 65-percent of students in the sixth grade passed, which was below the state average of 68-percent. At the school, 20-percent earned "Pass+" status in science.

Some elementary students take the IMAST exam, which is a modified version of the ISTEP test, and the results were promising.

At Jefferson-Craig Elementary: 88-percent of third graders passed English/language arts and 88-percent passed math; 100-percent of fourth graders passed English/language arts, 100-percent passed math; and 100-percent passed the science test.

Also: 100-percent of fifth graders passed English/language arts, 67-percent passed math; and 100-percent passed the science test. In the sixth grade: 83-percent passed English/language arts; 50-percent passed math; and 83-percent passed science.

That data gave Jefferson-Craig Elementary School an overall score of 3.00 for English/language arts; but the school lost one point because the school had too many students show low growth, just as Switzerland County Elementary School did.

Jeff-Craig got an overall score of 2.50 in math, but again lost a point because of too many students showing growth, but it was low growth. Combined and accounting for the two penalty points, the school had a total score of 3.50, which when divided in half is a final score of 1.75, earning the school a 'D' grade.

Last year, Jefferson-Craig Elementary School earned a grade of 'C'.

*

Fred Ross told the school board that overall there were some very positive things come from the ISTEP results, and that all four buildings were continuing to develop strategies and programs to help students achieve at a high level. He noted that grades would have been different (higher) if Switzerland County students would have simply been assessed based on their own growth, not compared to students in other geographic areas of the state.

"You have to take into account our poverty level here, which continues to rise each year," Fred Ross said. "That is an indicator for testing, and our schools work very hard to see those trends and adjust to them."

Examples:

- At Switzerland County Middle School: 83-percent of seventh graders who are a part of the free and reduced lunch program passed the English/language arts section; and 96-percent of those students passed the math section. In the eighth grade: 71-percent of those students passed the English/language arts section; while 77-percent passed the math section.

- At Switzerland County Elementary School: 71-percent of third graders are considered to be 'in poverty'; 57-percent of fourth graders; and 71-percent of fifth graders.

Of those: 78-percent of third graders passed the English/language arts portion and 63-percent passed the math section; 68-percent of fourth graders passed the English/language arts portion and 53-percent passed the math section; and 71-percent of fifth graders passed the English/language arts portion and 79-percent passed the math section.

- Jefferson-Craig Elementary School has 47-percent of third grade students considered to be 'in poverty'; 55-percent of fourth graders and fifth graders; and 56-percent of sixth graders.

Of those: 76-percent of third graders passed the English/language arts portion and 82-percent passed the math section; 59-percent of fourth graders passed the English/language arts portion and 82-percent passed the math section; 86-percent of fifth graders passed the English/language arts portion and 86-percent passed the math section; and 64-percent of sixth graders passed the English/language arts portion and 72-percent passed the math section.





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