Reading and math scores improved by as much as 24 percent in the past year
By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — Shaker Regional students rocked the state academic world by improving their state-mandated test scores from 2015 to 2016 and besting the state averages by as much as 24 percentage points in some cases.
In all cases but one, reading scores improved from 2015 to 2016 in tests that compare children in the same grades from year to year, such as a 2015 third grade and a 2016 third grade.
But more importantly to Interim Superintendent Michael Tursi, the test for the same students, such as the 2015 third grade and the 2016 fourth grade, also showed improvements as the students progressed a year.
"Hats off to our teachers and our families," Tursi said at Tuesday's night's School Board meeting.
It's been two years since the state adopted Smarter Balanced as a way of testing student statewide to measure their proficiency in reading and language arts and mathematics. Smarter Balanced testing is designed to allow teachers and parents better access to how individual students are performing and to better identify sooner how and where teachers need to give them more support. Smarter Balanced tests are closely aligned with the Common Core.
The tests themselves are computer adaptive, meaning they measure how a student is doing as he or she is taking the test and the questions either get more difficult if a student is doing well or easier if the student is doing poorly. Interim practice tests are available for teachers to do continual assessing.
A breakdown of the results shows that in reading the same group of students had 1 percent in proficiency or better from third to fourth grade, showed 1 percent proficiency improvement from fourth to fifth grade, showed a decline in proficiency of 1 percent from fifth to sixth grade, improved 17 percent from sixth to seventh grade, and improved 2 percent from seventh to eighth grade.
All totaled, in 2015-2016 68 percent of all third-graders were proficient in reading and language arts; 64 percent of fourth-graders were proficient; 65 percent of the fifth-graders showed proficiency; 67 percent of the sixth-graders were proficient; 84 percent of the seventh-graders were proficient, and 75 percent of the eighth-graders were proficient or better. In all cases, Shaker's scores bested the state average scores.
The mathematics scores as compared to the state average were impressive as well.
In 2015-2016, Shaker third-grade students showed a 68 percent proficiency in mathematics; the fourth-graders showed a 54 percent proficiency; the fifth-graders showed a 53 percent proficiency; the sixth-graders showed a 54 percent proficiency; the seventh-graders showed a 75 percent proficiency and the eighth-graders showed as 54 percent proficiency. In all cases, the Shaker students tested far better than did the average student in the state.
Tursi said the district's general plan is to continue to look at the school's instructional practices to improve student learning.
"Overall, we will focus on our strengths and identify our weaknesses," Tursi said.
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