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Helmut Schmidt, Published July 09 2012

West Fargo School Board gets look at key indicators of learning

WEST FARGO – School board members got a look Monday at some of the key test results that West Fargo School District staff are monitoring to determine if students are improving in math, science, reading and language arts.

North Dakota State Assessment results for the 2011-12 school year showed mixed results compared with 2010-11.

The district’s goal for the NDSA is to increase the number of students who are proficient every year.

Of the different subgroups, only black students increased their scores (49 percent in 2011-12 compared with 47 percent in 2010-11) on the NDSA reading tests, which are given to grades 3-8 and 11.

Hispanic students scored considerably lower in 2011-12 (64.4 percent, compared with 72.4 percent) on the NDSA reading tests.

Other subgroups, such as poor, white, Native American, Asian, disabled and English Language Learner students, also scored lower on the reading tests, but in all cases it was less than 5 percent – not a significant one-year change.

Overall, district scores average 76.5 percent proficient in reading in 2011-12, compared with 78.1 percent in 2010-11.

The NDSA math results were better.

The overall percentage of students proficient in math in 2011-12 was about 78.6 percent. That was only down 0.15 percent from 2010-11.

The black, Asian and English Language Learner student subgroups all improved their test scores.

Meanwhile, the other subgroups only showed small declines.

However, NDSA science test results showed significant losses for some groups in 2011-12.

Overall, 58 percent of students were proficient in science in 2011-12, compared with 62 percent in 2010-11.

Black, Asian and disabled students all showed gains in math, but the poor, white, Native American, and Hispanic student subgroups all had losses in proficiency – some of them significant.

Hispanic students dropped from 41 percent proficient in math in 2010-11 to 28 percent last year. Native American students dropped from 65 percent proficient in math in 2010-11 to 47 percent proficient in 2011-12, the NDSA results show.

“We’ve got to get more kids proficient in math and science earlier than they are now,” Superintendent David Flowers said.

The district also uses tests called Measures of Academic Progress to determine the growth that students make during the school year.

However, because the MAP tests had changed considerably from 2010-11 to 2011-12, district staff decided to make 2011-12 the baseline year for results in math, reading and language arts.

Districtwide, 55.6 percent of students showed improvement in the reading section of the MAP tests in 2011-12; 61.8 percent of students showed progress in math; and 57.1 percent showed progress in language arts.

In other business, the board elected Kay Kiefer to be its president for the 2012-13 school year. Patti Stedman was re-elected board vice president.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583