Chesterton Tribune



ISTEP scores fall across Indiana; reception is lukewarm in Duneland

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The 2016 ISTEP+ testing results were announced this morning by the Indiana Department of Education, showing a gradual decline from 2015 scores around the state and in Duneland.

Educators are pointing to the tougher core standards as the cause of the decline. The state in 2015 established a new baseline and transitioned with standards implemented to test students’ college and career readiness.

“As has been seen across the country, multiple years are required for educators and students to fully transition to more rigorous standards and assessments,” the DOE said in a press release today.

Statewide, 66.1 percent of students in grades 3-8 passed the English/Language Arts section of the 2016 ISTEP+ test, 58.9 percent passed the Math section, and 51.6 percent passed both sections.

For comparison, 67.3 percent of grades 3-8 passed the English/Language Arts portion in 2015, 61 passed the Math section and 53.5 percent passed both.

Also, 59 percent of students in grade 10 passed the English/Language Arts section, 34.6 percent passed the Math section, and 32.2 percent passed both.

This was also the first year of a new state assessment for grade 10 on these more rigorous college and career ready standards, the DOE said. For this reason, grade 10 results are not comparable to previous years’ pass rates.

The DOE additionally said for the first time in more than 20 years, Indiana had a new state assessment vendor for the ISTEP+ assessment. This change had additional impacts for students and educators during this implementation and transition year.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz issued a statement on her call to improve standardized testing:

“Transitions are never easy, but I want to applaud the students, educators and families across the state who have worked tirelessly to shift to more rigorous college and career ready standards over the past two years. Today’s results reflect Indiana’s focus on student progress towards more rigorous benchmarks for college and career readiness. However, it is important to remember that our students, schools and teachers are more than just a test score.

“I have spent the past four years working to get rid of inefficient and costly tests like ISTEP+. Indiana has finally taken the first steps to making that positive change for students but we need to go further. It is not enough to simply rebrand our current pass-fail, expensive and inefficient assessment system. Indiana must instead take advantage of federal flexibility to move towards a streamlined, individualized, student-centered assessment that provides students, families and educators with quick and meaningful feedback about how a student is performing and how they have grown during a school year. Students, educators and families deserve nothing less.”

In Duneland

Passing rates for English and Math dipped overall in the state. The trend was also seen in Duneland as the school corporation saw a decrease from 64.8 percent passing both in 2015 for all grades 3-8 to 63.8 percent passing in 2016.

Like last year, more students ended up passing the English section -- 73.6 percent -- than Math -- 72.6 percent.

All Duneland schools saw a decrease in passing both tests this year. The greatest percent variance was Yost Elementary with 54.3 percent passing this year compared to 60 percent in 2015.

Yost scored the lowest percentages in Grades 3-8 while Liberty Elementary was Duneland’s best performing school with 73.5 percent passing both sections, followed by Brummitt Elementary with 71.8 percent, Jackson Elementary with 68.9 percent, Liberty Intermediate with 68.2 percent, Westchester Intermediate with 63.5 percent, Bailly Elementary with 61.9 percent and Chesterton Middle School with 58.9 percent.

Meanwhile, 10th graders at Chesterton High School counted this year saw 68.1 percent pass English/Language Arts, 46.4 percent pass Math and 44.5 percent pass both. Overall passing both sections statewide for 10th grade was 32.2 percent.

All schools in all grades in Duneland, except for Math in Jackson Elementary 4th grade, tested above the state average.

Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for Duneland Schools Jim Goetz told the Chesterton Tribune this morning that while scores did not improve from last year, the bright side is the schools scored well over the state averages. He and Chesterton High School Principal Jeff Van Drie are comparing the scores with other school districts similar in size to Duneland in Porter and Lake Counties.

As in 2015, Duneland ranked third of the seven school corporations in Porter County in terms of students passing both English and Math. East Porter County Schools and Valparaiso Community Schools scored higher with 65.5 percent and 64.8 percent, respectively. Scoring the lowest was Porter Twp. Schools with 48.7 percent.

Goetz said it was surprising to see the state average of only 32.2 percent of high school students passing both English and Math.

He said the administration will work to bring the scores up but it is a constant challenge with the state incorporating new standards each year.

“It’s tough when things keep changing,” Goetz said. “We will take the data to help our teachers and our kids. But it’s just one test. It’s not the be all end all.”

Duneland will continue to seek out programs designed for hands-on learning in Math and other subjects, Goetz added.

Also showing higher scores than the state average was Discovery Charter School. The school saw 80 percent of its students pass the English section, 77.6 percent pass the Math section and 70.8 percent passing both.

Discovery Principal Ernesto Martinez said changes in the testing standards have made it more difficult for his school as well. “We still try our best to have high quality teachers and students,” he said.

State educators and lawmakers have discussed the possibility of replacing ISTEP with something else. Goetz said he guesses ISTEP will be around at least for the near future.

The state this year did not release data for ISTEP+ scores in non-public schools like St. Patrick School in Chesterton.

The following is a grade-by-grade breakdown of the 2016 scores in Duneland and Discovery Charter School:

Grade 3

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 69.0%. Statewide average in Math was 60.1%. Passing both was 54.1% statewide.

Bailly: English, 74.1%; Math, 67.9%; passing both, 60.5%.

Brummitt: English, 83.1%; Math, 84.7%; passing both, 75.9%.

Jackson: English, 85.1%; Math, 82.1%; passing both, 77.6%.

Liberty Elementary: English, 76.9%; Math, 82.6%; passing both, 65.9%.

Yost: English, 71.4%; Math, 65.7%; passing both, 61.4%.

Discovery: English, 87.8%; Math, 85.1%; passing both, 82.4%.

Grade 4

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 68.2%. Statewide average in Math was 62.4%. Passing both was 54.8% statewide.

Bailly: English, 77.0%; Math, 72.4%; passing both, 63.2%.

Brummitt: English, 84.5%; Math, 77.6%; passing both, 69.0%.

Jackson: English, 76.8%; Math, 61.8%; passing both, 58.2%.

Liberty Elementary: English, 88.6%; Math, 86.4%; passing both, 73.9%.

Yost: English, 71.6%; Math, 56.8%; passing both, 48.1%.

Discovery: English, 79.7%; Math, 76.8%; passing both, 73.9%.

Grade 5

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 63.4%. Statewide average in Math was 65.6%. Passing both was 53.7% statewide.

Liberty Intermediate: English, 75.9%; Math, 81.9%; passing both, 71.1%.

Westchester Intermediate: English, 62.5%; Math, 81.2%; passing both, 59.1%.

Discovery: English, 69.6%; Math, 85.5%; passing both, 68.1%.

Grade 6

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 66.3%. Statewide average in Math was 59.8%. Statewide average passing both was 52.0% statewide.

Liberty Intermediate: English, 73.4%; Math, 73.5%; passing both, 65.8%.

Westchester Intermediate: English, 77.2%; Math, 74.4%; passing both, 67.6%.

Discovery: English, 78.6%; Math, 66.7%; passing both, 57.1%.

Grade 7

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 67.5%. Statewide average in Math was 52.3%. Statewide average passing both was 47.9%.

CMS: English, 71.4%; Math, 66.2%; passing both, 59.5%.

Discovery: English, 87.5%; Math, 68.8%; passing both, 68.8%.

Grade 8

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 61.8%. Statewide average in Math was 53.4%. Statewide average passing both was 46.7%

CMS: English, 67.6%; Math, 66.8%; passing both, 58.3%.

Discovery: English, 84.0%; Math, 60.0%; passing both, 60.0%.

Grade 10

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 59.0%. Statewide average in Math was 34.6%. Statewide average passing both was 32.2%.

Chesterton High School: English, 68.1%; Math, 46.4%; passing both, 44.5%.

All Grades 3-8

Statewide average passing in English/Language Arts was 67.3%. Statewide average in Math was 61%. Statewide average passing both was 53.5%.

Duneland School Corp.: English, 73.2%; Math, 72.6%; passing both, 63.3%.

Discovery: English, 80.0%; Math, 77.6%; passing both, 70.8%.

Other school districts:

East Porter County School Corporation: English, 81.3%; Math, 71.2%; passing both 65.5%.

MSD Boone Twp. Schools: English, 70.9%; Math, 68.7%; passing both 57.7%.

Portage Twp. School: English, 67.2%; Math, 62.2%; passing both 53.5%.

Porter Twp. School: English, 71.0%; Math, 53.8%; passing both 48.7%.

Union Twp. Schools: English, 79.5%; Math, 74.9%; passing both 67.7%.

Valparaiso Schools: English, 78.3%; Math, 70.3%; passing both 64.8%.



Posted 11/18/2016




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