Archive for Thursday, October 11, 2007

Schools shine bright on state assessments

October 11, 2007

Baldwin School District students nearly swept the gauntlet of state assessments last year.

Out of 32 tests, the district received the standard of excellence rating on 25 of those. The district also scored well enough to receive the standard of excellence building-wide on seven of the eight assessments.

The official results were announced Tuesday, although Supt. Paul Dorathy announced the unofficial results at Monday's Board of Education meeting. On Tuesday, he was excited about the results.

"We had a number of standards of excellence again," Dorathy said. "It was very similar to last year's scores. We also made AYP at every building."

A year ago, Baldwin received the standard of excellence on 22 of the 26 assessments. The writing assessment was added to last year's tests at each level.

This year Baldwin Elementary School Intermediate Center and Marion Springs Elementary School received the standard of excellence on all seven assessments.

"We're thrilled," said Tom Mundinger, BESIC principal. "It's a reflection of how hard the students and staff work. It shows how hard everyone is working toward making that standard of excellence. The results speak for themselves."

Vinland Elementary School made the standard of excellence in two math assessments and the writing assessment. Baldwin High School made it in both its reading and math assessments.

Baldwin Junior High School nearly swept its assessments. BJHS scored well enough in all three reading, two math and the writing to receive the standard of excellence rating.

"It's very hard work and it shows what the staff and students in the district have done to achieve this," Dorathy said. "It's very difficult to reach the standard of excellence. There are many districts out there that don't reach the standard of excellence on any test."

Baldwin Elementary School Primary Center doesn't take the state assessments, because the testing begins in third grade.

Dorathy did say although not every school achieved the highest rating, the scores on those tests were still above the state average.

"Even where we didn't get the standard of excellence, we still had extremely high scores," Dorathy said.

Nearly every school in the district also had a higher percentage of students score high enough to reach the standard or above. The state average for all students reaching the standard or above for the reading assessment was 82.6 percent and for the math was 79.9 percent.

The state targets for the high school level was 65 percent (reading) and 55.7 (math). The targets for junior high and elementary students was 69.5 (reading) and 66.8 (math).

As a district, Baldwin had 93.5 percent reach the standard or above on reading and 91.6 percent on math. BHS just missed the reading mark as 80.8 percent reached the mark, while 80.3 percent reached the mark in math.

BJHS was well above the state average as 96.6 percent of its students reached the standard in reading and 90.7 percent in math.

The elementary schools were also above the state. BESIC had 94 percent (reading) and 96.8 percent (math), VES had 88 percent (reading) and 90.4 percent (math) and MSES had 100 percent on both assessments.

"Our percentages were significantly above the state's targets on every test that we took in the district," Dorathy said.

Dorathy said he hasn't had much time to review the scores, but he will be taking a closer look at them before working with staff members to improve on this year's assessments.

"The staff will now be taking this data and looking at that to see where our weaknesses might be, see where our strengths are and start strategizing how to make out students better."

The state has an ultimate goal of every school reaching 100 percent proficiency on every assessment. Dorathy said he doesn't see that happening, but he hopes Baldwin is one of the last to fall into the "needs improvement" category.

"We keep working toward that 100 percent," Dorathy said. "It's difficult to do and our goal is to be one of the last schools in the state of Kansas to not make the targets and be placed on improvement. It will become extremely difficult to maintain 100 percent every single year. We are sitting in the 90 percentiles right now."

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