By Nate Smith
ISTEP results continued to be a mixed bag for local schools this spring. Overall, passing averages were lower throughout Daviess and Martin counties, up to 7 percent lower, from the year before.
For Daviess County, with the schools of Washington, Barr-Reeve and North Daviess, passing averages were slightly lower than 2011 as 72.21 percent passed both the English and Math portions of the test. In 2011, 73.68 percent passed both portions of the test.
Countywide, 78.45 percent of students passed the English portion while 83.38 percent passed the math portion of the test. That is slightly down from 2011 as 79.02 percent passing for English and 84.62 percent for math.
Barr-Reeve schools led the way in Daviess County, with all of its classes tested show passing rates above the state average. The schools also improved from the previous year, with 81.93 percent of students passing both the English and math portions of the exam in the elementary school and 80.73 percent of students passing both exams in the junior high school.
“I think overall we were very pleased,” Barr-Reeve Superintendent Travis Madison said. “I think what we noticed was the gains we have made.”
A gain was especially significant in the junior high school, where 11 percent more students passed both sections of the ISTEP in 2012 than in 2011.
One class, sixth-grade math, had 100 percent of its students pass the exam. Scores were up across the board in both math and English. Madison noted the gain in elementary English scores, where the school finished its “Million Minutes” reading program.
“I think the program we created last summer had a great benefit,” Madison said.
North Daviess schools saw a small decline in passing percentages from a year ago, but they were still way above the state average. Only two areas, fourth-grade math and seventh-grade English, were below state levels.
North Daviess Superintendent Robert Bell said they were pleased with scores due to the fact they were rising, but said “we can always do a lot better.”
Many grades did very well at North Daviess, including math in the junior high school. In eighth-grade math, 95 percent of students passed the exam, the largest in the area for that grade.
Bell said they were really happy with eighth-grade math and it is something to build on.
“We will be a lot happier when we have 90 percent scores across the board,” Bell said.
Washington schools fared about the same with ISTEP as in recent years, with some areas doing really well and some not so well. The successes can be seen at Veale and North elementary schools, where more testings areas were above state averages than below. Although the fourth grade surpassed the state’s averages, the rest of Griffith Elementary school were below the state’s average line. The school dropped 13 percentage points in students passing both portions of the ISTEP in 2012 than in 2011.
At Lena Dunn, two testing areas, fourth-grade math and sixth-grade English, were above state passing levels. In the junior high school, students were above state averages in math, but not in English.
Washington Catholic, the only private school in the area to have released ISTEP scores, had two testing areas reach the highest 100-percent level, third-grade English and sixth-grade math.
On a whole, most of WC’s passing percentages were above the state’s average except for students in the middle school. In WC’s seventh grade, 65 percent of students passed English and 50 percent passed math. The eighth grade had 85 percent of its class pass English, but only 40 percent pass math.
Martin County’s results were worse than the year before, as much as 6.94 percent for students passing English and math. In 2011, the rate was 73.9 percent and it is 66.95 percent in 2012, lower than the state average.
Most of that loss was in English, where 2012 averages were 5.45 percent lower, 71.79 percent to 77.24 percent.
For math, students passing the test were 2.89 percent lower but still way above the state average at 83.69 percent. In 2011, it was 86.58 percent of students.
At the school level, Loogootee Elementary, its first full year combined in the high school building, was lower across the board than state averages. Only fourth-grade math (95.5 percent), fifth-grade math (97.6 percent) and sixth-grade math (92.2 percent) were above state passing averages. The junior high school was better, with three out of four categories above state levels.
In Shoals, the best-performing group of students was in third grade, where 98 percent passed the English exam and 89.8 percent passed math. The rest of the corporation were below state averages. In the junior high, only 44.7 percent of students passed seventh-grade English and 58.7 percent passed the test in the eighth grade.
In Pike County, the trend continued up as .21 percent of students (73.65) passed both sections of the ISTEP in 2012. In 2011, the passing rate was 73.44 percent.
In what continues to be a trend, Otwell Elementary not only led Pike County but the entire survey area, with the lowest passing rate being 85 percent. Two test areas, third-grade math and fifth-grade English, saw 100 percent passing rates for their students and the school.
The other two elementary schools, Winslow and Petersburg, also did well.
At Pike Central Middle School, all passing rates were higher than state averages except one, sixth grade math.