The results of the Spring 2013 ISTEP+ tests taken by Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation students in grades 3-8 show several percentage point gains over the past three years of scores at all grade levels in both English/Language Arts (E/LA) and Mathematics, some by as much as 15 percent.
EVSC officials say one-year gains were experienced at every grade level except third and fifth grade English/Language Arts. (scroll down to see graph)
"We are very pleased to see gains across the board," said David Smith, EVSC superintendent. "When you look at the three-year gains, increases are seen at every grade level. It is clear that we are moving in the right direction. The three year gains that EVSC students have made can be attributed to the continuity of efforts taking place throughout the EVSC, hard work of teachers and staff and support of families."
Velinda Stubbs, chief academic officer for the EVSC said, "For the past three years, our schools have very intentionally used student data," Stubbs said. "We have been very specific about analyzing assessment results and student work. Schools have used student data to determine a focus for instruction for all students. In addition, we have used individual student data to determine supports for students who are not at mastery of specific skills and to accelerate or enrich the education of students who are already at mastery. Even students are part of the process and many have kept personal data notebooks to track academic progress and growth on assessments." This work is all a part of the Response to Intervention model.
"The double digit gains over last year's scores that many of our schools experienced is certainly something we are proud of ," Stubbs said. Some, but not all, standouts include:
"We were concerned we would not see the results of the efforts of our staff, students and families after the testing agency for ISTEP+, CTB, had across-the-state periodic interruptions all throughout the testing. As expressed at recent school board meetings, students, families, and teachers were frustrated with the testing process and the inability to take the test from start to finish, without interruption," said Superintendent Smith. "However, we are pleased that the progress our predictive assessments indicated would be achieved – was achieved by our students."
Smith said it is important to note that in most cases, students of means, who historically have scored well on standardized tests, continue to do so – and it is important to watch the gains from those who come to the EVSC less prepared than others. While all gains are important, these gains are impressive, Smith pointed out. "This clearly indicates EVSC staff are closing the achievement gap," Smith said. "We take all students, regardless of their varying abilities and prior experiences and use a variety of educational strategies to motivate and educate them so that all are able to reach their fullest potential."
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