Archive for Thursday, September 13, 2001

Tests reveal schools’ strengths and weaknesses

September 13, 2001

Eudora school children tested above the 2000 state average in all but four areas on their spring 2001 state assessment tests. Eighth graders tested below the 2000 state average in two areas of social studies civics and geography. Fourth graders edged behind the 2000 state average for scores on physical science and technology.

However, the difference between the Eudora eighth graders' scores at the state average was .5 percent. For the fourth graders, they lapsed behind the state by .6 percent in physical science and .8 percent in technology.

The test results show what percent of questions Eudora students answered correctly versus what percent of questions students across the state answered correctly.

Officer of Academic Affairs Mindy Salmans said the scores were unequivocated, meaning thy district doesn't use them to compare with other schools but rather uses them for instructional purposes.

The 2001 Eudora scores are paired with 2000 state scores because results from other school districts are not in yet, which doesn't allow the state to come up with a 2001 state average.

"Honestly, we don't want to be below average in any area," Superintendent Marty Kobza said. "We feel that our scores are very strong. It shows they perform consistently above the state average. Our schools are doing a very good job."

Eudora students performed well above state averages in some subjects, Kobza said.

"We are significantly above in some areas," Kobza said.

For instance, Eudora 11th graders scored 12 percent higher on civics than the state average.

Yet comparing Eudora students to students in other school districts isn't necessarily fair.

"Different schools have different curriculum, different standards, different numbers of students, which affect scores dramatically," Salmans said.

People also need to consider that the state averages are from last year, she said.

"It probably will not change drastically because when you're looking at the state of Kansas, you're looking at a huge number of students, so you're not going to make a big difference."

Kobza said the district uses state assessment tests to identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. The district can examine those identified areas closely, Salmans said.

"When you look at our schools' scores you can see 'We teach that here,'" Salmans said, pointing to a curriculum mapping notebook for the district.

"Curriculum mapping is where (teachers) map out exactly what they're doing in their classroom," Salmans said.

The test results show what percent of questions students answered correctly for each specific group of questions. For instance, Salmans can see how well students completed math problems about logarithms.

If students didn't do well on logarithm problems, Salmans can see in which math classes students learn about them

When teachers provide the district with lesson plans, teachers can look even more closely at student performance.

"It may be a case where they say, 'I only spent four days on it. Maybe it's an area I need to spend a little more time on,'" Salmans said.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.