Archive for Thursday, October 26, 2000

DeSoto fares well in assessment

October 26, 2000

DeSoto school district students exceeded state averages on skills assessment tests, according to results released by the state last week.

Fifth-, eighth- and 11th-grade students in all state schools took the reading and writing test last spring. At the same time, fourth-, seventh- and 10th-graders took the math test.

Monticello Trails seventh-graders scored 62.9 on the math assessment. The students' performance earned the middle school a standard of excellence in that category.

In only one instance did a grade level at a DeSoto attendance site fail to exceed the state average. The 51.1 score Starside Elementary fourth-graders received on the math assessment was 2.7 points below the state average.

But when Superintendent Marilyn Layman reviewed the scores with the school board last Monday, she singled out the Starside fifth-graders score of 85 in reading. That score bettered the state average by 3.8 points.

"Do you know what it took?" Layman asked, while reminding the board that Starside has a large percentage of at-risk students.

Layman said she spent the weekend reviewing the test scores, but could make few conclusions from past years. The skill assessments were given to different grade levels than in the past, and the math assessment test was changed to reflect new state standards.

The scores will establish a baseline against which the district can measure its progress in the future, Layman said.

DeSoto's math scores reflected a statewide trend of low scores. Layman said that for the first time last year the state changed the emphasis of the math test from arithmetic to algebra and computation skills.

The district has altered it curriculum to reflect those new standards, but Layman the change won't start to show up on test scores until next year.

The district's scores were:

o Clear Creek math, 58.7; reading, 85.7; and writing 3.5.

o Starside math, 51.1; reading, 85; and writing 3.6.

o Woodsonia math, 54.7; reading, 81.8; and writing 3.4.

A state average can't be computed for writing because testing procedures and grading are not uniform. Elementary state averages were 53.8 in math and 81.2 reading.

o Lexington Trails math, 54.9; reading, 82.9, and writing, 3.6.

o Monticello Trails math, 62.9; reading, 84.7; and writing 3.4.

State averages for middle schools were 50.3 for math and 81.4 for reading.

o DeSoto High School 48.9, math; 81.1, reading; and 3.7 in writing.

Math and reading are scored on a 100-point scale and writing on a five-point scale.

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