Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

Seventh-graders strike again

Students excel in math assessments; district’s schools meet AYP

September 9, 2004

Eudora's seventh-graders have done it again. The students, who are now eighth-graders at Eudora Middle School, met the Standard of Excellence on their state math assessments last spring as seventh-graders at the school.
"It's a great accomplishment for our kids and our teachers to meet this standard," said Principal Don Grosdidier.
He attributed the students' success to a curriculum focus on the test's indicators, an effort led by seventh-grade math teacher Marla Johnson.
"But it's really a team effort, because it takes into account their prior knowledge," Grosdidier said, commending teachers in the lower grades for building the foundation.
A different group of seventh-graders met the standard of excellence on the test in 2002.
"I think it has to do with the system that's been established," Grosdidier said.
The state awards standards of excellence based on the percentage of students in each achievement category. In seventh-grade math, a quarter of students must perform at the highest grade level, and no more than 10 percent must score below the basic level.
Specific percentages required in each category meant that even though 85 percent of last year's eighth-graders scored proficient and above in state reading assessments, Eudora Middle School was five students short in the highest category to reach the Standard of Excellence designation.
"Whether we hit the Standard of Excellence or we don't hit it, the instruction is such that we're going to be there give or take a few kids each year, and it's all because of the instructors' focus on the indicators," Grosdidier said.
The principal said schools received unofficial results last spring, when Eudora Middle School had a small celebration for the seventh-graders.
"We felt like it was best to reward those kids as soon as we could," Grosdidier said. "They've been recognized and know what they've accomplished."
In 2001, the Eudora High School 11th-graders reached the Standard of Excellence in social studies.
Superintendent Marty Kobza said it was also noteworthy that Nottingham Elementary School second-graders performed "exceptionally well" on second grade reading diagnostics last academic year. Nottingham Principal Jim Lauer attributed a large part of that to reading programs implemented at the school.
Eudora's schools can also rejoice in the fact that based on assessment tests all buildings met "adequate yearly progress" as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. Kobza said the AYP was met by the district as a whole, because Eudora didn't have enough children in special education, for instance, to warrant a subgroup. Schools and districts not meeting AYP are put on improvement lists, which has consequences such as allowing students to transfer to districts and schools not listed on improvement.
To put the Standard of Excellence in perspective, Grosdidier said AYP for seventh grade math was to have 53.5 percent of students proficient and above compared to the 80 percent required for the Standard of Excellence.
"We're well beyond that," he said.
The district's state assessment scores will be a part of the building report card that will be made available in the future on the Kansas Department of Education's Web site, Eudora's 2002-2003 report cards are currently available online, as is information about Kansas schools and AYP.

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