By Carolyn Lee
The Imperial Republican
The Nebraska Department of Education released results of the 2012 state reading, math and science tests. Those show that Nebraska public school students scored higher on their 2012 state reading and mathematics tests—higher than in previous years.
At Chase County Schools (CCS), in the grade levels tested, a higher percentage of students met the state standards in almost all categories.
Tests were given twice in 2012. Grades 3-8 and 11 were tested in mathematics and reading; grades 5, 8 and 11 were tested in science, and grades 4, 8 and 11 were tested in writing.
The writing results were reported on earlier this year.
In last year’s third grade, 59 percent of the students tested met the standards in reading and 56 percent in math, both higher than the state average.
In last year’s grade four, 62 percent met the standards in reading and 59 percent met the standards in math, again higher than the state average.
In last year’s grade five, 43 percent met the standards in reading—higher than the state standards—and 53 percent met the standards in math, one percent below the state percentage. They scored 51 percent in science, or one percent below the state average.
In last year’s grade six, 45 percent met the standards in reading and 48 percent met the math standards, above the state average.
In last year’s seventh grade, 43 percent met the state’s reading standards—one percent below the state average— and 58 percent met the math standards, or 12 percent above the state average.
Fifty-two percent of last year’s eighth grade students met the standards in reading, above the state average. However, only 29 percent met the standards in math, and only 48 percent met the science standards, well below the state average.
Last year’s 11th grade students scored 58 percent meeting the standards in reading, 64 percent in math and 70 percent in science, all well above the state levels.
CCS Supt. Brad Schoeppey said he has teams reviewing the data from the state report.
The report, he said, “to a certain extent tells us how good a job we’re doing, but we also have to take into consideration the effort the kids put into the test. If they don’t see its value,” they may just decide to click on the same multiple choice answer each time instead of reading the question.
It’s hard to compare the previous year’s results in some classes to the current year’s, especially in large school districts where there’s a large turnover of students.
“We use it to see how well we’re doing in teaching and our areas of weakness,” he said. Concerning the eighth grade scores, “We’re looking back at areas we didn’t do well in teaching, and evaluating those.”
Secondary Principal Mike Sorenson was not available for comment.
Schoeppey said he’s not sure yet how those eighth grade scores will affect CCS’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) designation with the federal government’s No Child Left Behind program.
The 2012 AYP results have not yet been made available to the schools.
“If we don’t make an AYP the federal government can come down on you,” he noted.
CCS’s elementary school is already at “year two” in not meeting the AYP, Schoeppey said. Because of that, the government required CCS to send letters to elementary parents telling them “you can transfer to another elementary school in the district that made the AYP, but we don’t have another elementary school in the district,” he noted.
The “year two” designation for the elementary school was due to last year’s third grade students under the free and reduced lunch category in reading scores, he said.
Elementary Principal Pat Lane said it was his belief that last year’s lack of AYP was due to the third grade free and reduced meal students in reading. He said the elementary school is in its second year of “needs improvement” under No Child Left Behind.
As for this year, Lane said, “I don’t know why we haven’t made the AYP.”
There are many distinctions that make up the categories. These can be males only, African American children or others.
If a school reaches year four or five of not meeting AYP, he noted, the government requires teachers or administrators to be replaced.
“People don’t understand what No Child Left Behind means to schools,” he said.
But, “We should have our kids up high enough to not have to worry about AYP. That’s what I’m working on.”