Indiana Department of Education released results of the spring 2013 ISTEP+ test to the media last week. ISTEP+ is administered to students in grades three through eight in Indiana public schools.
Results for the Wawasee Community School Corporation show areas of concern — particularly for grades five through seven in English/language arts — but math scores continue to look positive.
For the English/language arts portion of ISTEP+, in the third-grade 82.3 percent of the students passed.
Fourth-graders had 84.1 percent pass, fifth-graders had 65.6 percent pass, sixth-graders 65 percent, seventh-graders 62.9 percent and 67.9 percent of the eighth-graders passed.
For the math portion, 81.9 percent of third-graders passed, 83.2 percent of fourth-graders, 82.4 percent of fifth-graders, 79.2 percent of sixth-graders, 84.4 percent of seventh-graders and 78 percent of eighth-graders. Math scores have traditionally been higher for Wawasee students.
IDOE said English/language arts scores were higher statewide, but not so for Wawasee in grades five through seven. Joy Goshert, director of instruction and curriculum for the Wawasee district, said in particular seventh-grade was down 12.8 percent compared to 2012. “That is a huge swing,” she commented. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a double digit swing in one year at Wawasee before.”
Eighth-grade English/language arts scores were down nearly 8 percent when looking at how those same students did as seventh-graders the year prior, Goshert added. Other nearby school districts including, Whitko and Concord, also saw a noticeable decrease in scores for grades five through seven in English/language arts, she noted.
Wawasee had 75.1 percent of third-graders pass both tests, while 74.9 percent of fourth-graders did, 63.7 percent of fifth-graders, only 58.4 percent of sixth-graders, 60.8 percent of seventh-graders and 62.4 percent of eighth-graders passed both.
Data is still being sorted through as results were released to schools and parents about two weeks ago. “We are still looking at it,” Goshert noted when asked if any connections could be made with curriculum and ISTEP+ results for English/language arts. Adopting new reading curriculum will be discussed this year, she added.
Though the ISTEP+ results show a mixture of strengths and areas of concern, Wawasee clearly focuses more on Northwest Evaluation Association testing results. NWEA testing is administered in the fall, January and at the end of the school year while ISTEP+ occurs only once each year. “NWEA showed a decrease also (in English/language arts) but not as much of a swing as ISTEP+ did,” Goshert said. NWEA testing is based on the Common Core standards taught in Wawasee schools.
The spring 2013 ISTEP+ test was marked by serious computer glitches interrupting testing. When the interruptions occurred depended on the grade level and day of testing, Goshert said. But the state only invalidated five tests for the Wawasee district, she noted. Testing interruptions may have been a factor in the testing results, she added.
There is a commitment to ISTEP+ testing through the end of the 2014-15 school year, Goshert said.