Chesterton Tribune



State finally releases ISTEP scores; new standards cause declines here

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The Indiana Department of Education this morning lifted the embargo on the 2015 ISTEP+ testing scores and previous statements that the scores were much lower this year due to a shift away from Common Core standards held true.

The statewide overall average for passing both the English/Language Arts and Math portion for 2015 in grades 3-8 came in at 53.5 percent, compared to 74.7 percent in 2014.

The effect was felt here too, although the Duneland School Corporation, the Discovery Charter School and St. Patrick’s School in Chesterton all scored above the state average.

Duneland’s overall score for 2015 as a corporation was 64.8 percent passing for both English and Math, compared to 82.1 percent in 2014. For English, Duneland saw 75.7 percent passing and for Math 73.1 percent passing overall.

At Discovery, 73 percent passed both subjects overall with 83.7 passing the English portion and 78.6 percent for Math. In 2014, the overall percentage for Discovery was 88 percent passing both.

St. Patrick’s held up the best with 94.4 percent passing English, 97.2 percent passing Math and 92.4 percent passing both in 2015. For 2014, St. Patrick’ saw 96.4 percent passing English, 99.3 percent passing Math and 96.4 percent passing both.

Along with the release of the 2015 ISTEP+ scores, the DOE in a statement explained that the test was the first state assessment to be based on Indiana’s new, more rigorous college and career ready standards.

“Because of this change, the 2015 ISTEP+ scores are not comparable to previous years’ pass rates. Instead, for the first time they show the percentage of students meeting the new college and career ready benchmarks at each grade level,” the DOE said.

School officials comment

This morning, administrators at Duneland and at Discovery Charter School told the Chesterton Tribune that their biggest gripe is that, due to getting the test results so late, educators now only have a couple of months to try to improve in areas where their classrooms struggled.

“With this year’s ISTEP+ testing beginning in about 38 school days, schools have little time to make adjustments so next year’s scores may likely be very similar to this year’s scores,” said Discovery Principal Ernesto Martinez.

Duneland Superintendent of Schools David Pruis and Assistant Superintendent Monte Moffett said that schools typically see their test results early in the fall around late August or September. It was only last month that they were able to see the preliminary figures.

Pruis said that he hopes the state legislature will decide on giving hold harmless protection to schools for accountability grades. House Bill 1003 has been introduced, which would provide that protection. There is also a bill in the Senate -- SB 100 -- which would give the schools their 2013-14 performance rating instead of using the 2014-15 results, unless the latter is a higher grade.

But comparing the new ISTEP scores to those received in recent years would have little validity, Moffett said, because the tests are “different.” This was “a very difficult year” for everyone involved starting with the vendor that created the test, local lawmakers, school administrators, parents, teachers and students because of the changes, Pruis and Moffett said.

Both urged parents to keep in mind that the ISTEP test is just a snapshot of where the schools are and it should not reflect on individual students.

“There’s always room for improvement. We strive for that and help the students as much as possible,” Pruis said, commending teachers and students for their hard work.

Martinez said he is proud of his student’s performance results and commented that with a new test in 2015, “you can’t really compare them to previous years.” Despite the declines, Discovery Board of Directors President Laurie Metz said Discovery takes the honor again of being the best performing charter school in the state.

Elsewhere in Porter County, East Porter County had the highest scores of the local school corporations, with 69.4 percent passing English and Math and Porter Twp. Schools was the lowest, with 51.3 percent.

Ritz comments

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz in a statement issued this morning called for reforms to Indiana’s student assessment program:

“After years of legislative changes at both the state and federal level, our schools were asked once again to implement new standards and subject students to a new assessment without time to transition. The 2015 ISTEP+ results have established a new baseline for Indiana’s progress towards college and career ready benchmarks, and I want to thank our students, educators and administrators for their hard work during such a challenging school year. I look forward to seeing student growth towards these new, more rigorous benchmarks moving forward.

“My top priority is the educational, social, and emotional well-being of Hoosier students. That is why I believe that it is time for Indiana to move away from the costly, lengthy, pass/fail ISTEP+ assessment. The one-size-fits-all, high stakes approach of the ISTEP+ needs to end. Instead, Indiana should move towards a streamlined, individualized, student-centered assessment that provides students, families and educators with quick feedback about how a student is performing and how they have grown during a school year.

“Moving forward, I will work with the General Assembly to oversee the development of this assessment so we can better serve each individual student’s needs. In addition, as the Chair of the State Board of Education, I will recommend action to ensure that each school’s accountability grade is determined by meaningful measures and not just by test scores.”

The following is a grade-by-grade breakdown of the school scores in Duneland:

Grade 3

Statewide average passing in English/language arts was 73.2%. Statewide average in math was 62.6%. Passing both was 57.5% statewide.

Bailly: English, 80.9%; Math, 64.0%; passing both, 64%.

Brummitt: English, 83.6%; Math, 83.6%; passing both, 77%.

Jackson: English, 84.6%; Math, 63.5%; passing both, 59.6%.

Liberty Elementary: English, 89.1%; Math, 82.9%; passing both, 75.2%.

Yost: English, 81.3%; Math, 63.5%; passing both, 64%.

Discovery: English, 85.2%; Math, 89.2%; passing both, 83.8%.

St. Patrick: English, 100%; Math, 100%; passing both, 100%.

Grade 4

Statewide average passing in English/language arts was 70.4%. Statewide average in math was 65.2%. Passing both was 57.6% statewide.

Bailly: English, 69.5%; Math, 62.1%; passing both, 53.7%.

Brummitt: English, 71.2%; Math, 67.6%; passing both, 56.2%.

Jackson: English, 85.7%; Math, 80.4%; passing both, 73.2%.

Liberty Elementary: English, 72.4%; Math, 78.6%; passing both, 63.3%.

Yost: English, 71.3%; Math, 66.3%; passing both, 56.3%.

Discovery: English, 85.9%; Math, 81.9%; passing both, 76.1%.

St. Patrick: English, 100%; Math, 100%; passing both, 100%.

Grade 5

Statewide average passing in English/language arts was 65.2%. Statewide average in math was 68.4%. Passing both was 56.1% statewide.

Liberty Intermediate: English, 72.9%; Math, 79.3%; passing both, 68.2%.

Westchester Intermediate: English, 71.5%; Math, 88.3%; passing both, 68.8%.

Discovery: English, 78.4%; Math, 84.3%; passing both, 76.5%.

St. Patrick: English, 90.6%; Math, 100%; passing both, 90.6%.

Grade 6

Statewide average passing in English/language arts was 65.8%. Statewide average in math was 61.9%. Statewide average passing both was 53.3% statewide.

Liberty Intermediate: English, 78.1%; Math, 70.2%; passing both, 65.7%.

Westchester Intermediate: English, 70.4%; Math, 70.4%; passing both, 60.3%.

Discovery: English, 80.0%; Math, 75.6%; passing both, 68.9%.

St. Patrick: English, 94.7%; Math, 100%; passing both, 94.7%.

Grade 7

Statewide average passing in English/language arts was 65.7%. Statewide average in math was 54.1%. Statewide average passing both was 48.6%.

CMS: English, 73.2%; Math, 65.4%; passing both, 58.9%.

Discovery: English, 89.7%; Math, 55.2%; passing both, 55.2%.

St. Patrick: English, 85.7%; Math, 85.7%; passing both, 76.2%.

Grade 8

Statewide average passing in English/language arts was 63.7%. Statewide average in math was 54.2%. Statewide average passing both was 48%

CMS: English, 77.9%; Math, 74.9%; passing both, 69.4%.

Discovery: English, 84.2%; Math, 52,6%; passing both, 47.4%.

St. Patrick: English, 93.8%; Math, 93.8%; passing both, 87.5%.

All Grades

Statewide average passing in English/language arts was 67.3%. Statewide average in math was 61%. Statewide average passing both was 53.5%.

Duneland School Corp.: English, 75.7%; Math, 73.1%; passing both, 64.8%.

Discovery: English, 83.7%; Math, 78.6%; passing both, 73.0%.

St. Patrick: English, 94.4%; Math, 97.2%; passing both, 92.4%.

Other school districts:

East Porter County School Corporation: English, 81.8%; Math, 74.6%; passing both 69.4%.

Union Twp. Schools: English, 75.6%; Math, 71.9%; passing both 63.6%.

Valparaiso Schools: English, 79.7%; Math, 72.6%; passing both 66.8%.

MSD Boone Twp. Schools: English, 71.7%; Math, 65.7%; passing both 56.6%.

Portage Twp. School: English, 69.6%; Math 64.4%; passing both 55.2%.

Porter Twp. School: English, 74.7%; Math, 55.2%; passing both 51.3%.



Posted 1/6/2016






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