Archive for Thursday, October 19, 2000

Eudora school district performs well in statewide assessment test

October 19, 2000

Eudora students have darkened the ovals for a statewide assessment test, with the results showing the district's students faring well to others in Kansas.

Students from selected grades took the test last spring, set by the Kansas State Board of Education. Students were tested on reading, math and writing skills.

District officer of academic affairs Mindy Salmans said this was the first year for a new format of state assessment testing. The testing spreads over a five-year period to help determine what areas of teaching need to be improved, changed, or continued. Eudora schools also use the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and each school purchases its own performance test.

"Then we look at data from all of them to look and see if there's any differences as well as where we're hitting hard," Salmans said.

For reading, fifth graders achieved a total score of 85.4 with the state average at 81.2. Eighth graders scored an 83.2 compared to the average of 81.4 and eleventh graders scored 79.9 compared to the average of 79.6. In math, fourth graders scored 55.1 with the state average at 53.8. Seventh graders achieved 56.4 with an average of 50.3 and tenth graders scored 48.3 out of an average of 46.5.

Of seven Lawrence-area schools, Baldwin, DeSoto, Eudora, Lawrence, McLouth, Oskaloosa, Ottawa, Perry-Lecompton and Tonganoxie, Eudora fifth graders received the highest writing score of 3.6. Eighth graders tied with three other districts for fourth and eleventh graders were at the bottom of the list with a score of 3.1.

Though most of the scores were positive for Eudora, Eudora Middle School Principal Dale Sample said it's been hard to get an accurate reading due to revisions in recent years.

"In the past five years, the state has changed the test two or three times on us," Sample said. "When that happens, it's going to change the validity of that test from time to time. To either be too proud or be too unhappy about those tests, it's hard to get a valid indication of how you're improving."

Salmans said by examining the test scores with the state average, it allows the district to examine what it needs to do to improve.

"If you're not growing at the same rate, then it puts up a red flag and you need to take a look at it," she said.

One red flag may be by examining individual areas of subject testing. With math for example, scores were higher in knowledge than in application.

"We put more emphasis on facts than applying what they know," Salmans said.

Eudora High Principal Marty Kobza said many factors could contribute to changing test scores. Changing facilities and adding and removing educational programs in the district can make an impact he said. However, the data from the tests are weighed heavily when trying to determine the next educational step.

"By studying it, looking at all the possible solutions and choosing the best one," Kobza said.

Eudora West Elementary Rod Moyer said he would examine the test scores and see what areas need to be improved. Though the district did well, he said, there's always room to be better.

"What I do, I take a look and kind of pick at them a little bit," Moyer said. "It gives us an idea that some of the areas are better than the others. That's one thing we address; is there something we need to change in the classroom?"

Next spring, districts will see another change in testing, adding two more subjects, science and social studies. In addition, students will be tested on reading and math, with writing tests to be administered in 2002.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.