S. Putnam sees improved elementary ISTEP scores

Thursday, March 1, 2007

ISTEP testing scores from two elementary schools showed the South Putnam School Board how much the students have improved.

Brad Hayes, principal of both Fillmore and Central elementaries, presented the board with information on how students at both schools performed on the 2006 ISTEP test during last Tuesday's meeting.

Hayes informed the board that the corporation has every right to be proud of both the students and the staff at Central and Fillmore for putting out scores that are well above the state average.

According to Hayes, each school has improvement goals for the math and language arts sections of the ISTEP test. Central's math goal was to have 85 percent of both its third and sixth graders "be proficient, or above, in math problem solving with open-ended questions." The schools' language arts goal was to have the same percentage of those two grades "be proficient or above in writing applications."

Fillmore's math goal was to have students in grades three through six "show an increase of 5 percent in the areas of geometry and measurement on the ISTEP assessment." The school's language arts goal was to the same group of students "show a 3 percent increase in the areas of literary response and analysis, and vocabulary on the ISTEP assessment."

Hayes said that Central Elementary students reached the math goal with an 85 percent passing rate for the third grade, and a 94 percent passing rate for the sixth grade. "An outstanding effort there," Hayes said.

Students at Central only met one of their language arts goal. According to Hayes, the sixth grade was 5 percent shy of reaching its goal, but it did show an 11 percent improvement overall, while the third grade met its goal with 87 percent passing.

"One of my things, is I always look for improvement," Hayes said. "You know we can always set a goal to reach, hopefully we can do that in a short time."

Hayes also said that as long as the students were showing an improvement, he believed they were on the right track.

At Fillmore, students reached their math goal with a 7.75 percent improvement in the geometry section and a 7.25 percent improvement in the measurement section. Students reached their goal in vocabulary with an increase of 5 percent, while falling short of their literary response goal with only a 2.75 percent increase.

Hayes said that reaching the literary response goal is difficult because that is the section where students have a piece of literature that they must both respond to and analyze.

Board member Nancy Wells told Hayes he had done a good job. Supt. Bruce Bernhardt reiterated her comment by stating that Hayes has done an excellent job at both Central and Fillmore.

Wells did ask Hayes how he planned on improving the test scores when he already has scores that are between the 80th and 90th percentiles. Hayes said it is very difficult, but "at least at Fillmore, we tried to look at a small percentage improvement."

Hayes informed the board that the school administrators would be later evaluating each goal, and will decide if they need to set new goals or work on improving their current goals for the next round of ISTEP testing.

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