Archive for Thursday, October 14, 2004

De Soto schools pass annual assessment review

October 14, 2004

De Soto USD 232 schools met criteria for adequate yearly progress in all subject areas on the 2004 state assessment tests.

State assessment results and progress information for De Soto and about 300 other Kansas school districts was released Tuesday at the Kansas State Board of Education meeting at the Shawnee Mission USD 512 administrative center.

The national No Child Left Behind Act requires schools to show adequate yearly progress, or AYP, on state assessment tests. The term refers to the growth rate in the percentage of students who achieve the state's definition of academic proficiency.

This year, students in grades four, seven and 10 took state assessment tests in math. Students in grades five, eight and 11 took tests in reading and writing.

Math and reading are taken every year. Writing is taken on a rotation with social studies and science.

To gauge adequate yearly progress, No Child Left Behind requires that public schools have a certain percentage of students showing proficiency in math and reading on state assessment tests.

This year, Kansas students in grades nine through 12 were required to have at least 38 percent of students proficient in math and 51 percent of students proficient in reading. Kindergarten through eighth-grade subgroups needed 53.5 percent in math and 57.3 percent in reading.

Each year, states are in charge of setting their target percentages a little higher, until the federal act's goal is reached -- have 100 percent of students proficient in math and reading by 2014.

Participation, attendance and graduation requirements stay the same from year to year.

Test data is contained within building, district and state report cards.

Statewide, 93 percent of Kansas' 1,400 public schools made AYP, an increase of 73 schools from last year.

The state also reported progress in narrowing the achievement gap.

"What is most encouraging about the report released today is that it shows real progress toward reducing the achievement gap and at the same time reflects growth among all of our populations," Kansas Education Commissioner Andy Tompkins said Tuesday. "It is clear that while we have improved the performance of our more challenged populations, we have not sacrificed continued growth among our best performing students."

Scores are broken down into sub-categories as well, for schools that have enough students in each of the categories to compile separate data.

The categories are free and reduced lunch, special education, English language learners, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific islanders, whites, American Indians and multi-ethnic or undeclared ethnicity.

To qualify for a subgroup, there must be at least 30 students fitting that description, or 40 for groups identified by special needs. Otherwise, the students are scored in a group with all others.

As a district, De Soto qualifies for separate scores in free and reduced lunch, special education, Hispanics and whites.

Starside Elementary School and Lexington Trails Middle School have subgroups for free and reduced lunch.

Kelly Spurgeon, a program consultant for the Kansas State Department of Education, said there were three tiers of making AYP in any category.

First, a group can make the mark by scoring at or above the target range.

If the group doesn't make that, they are then evaluated to see whether they made AYP at a confidence interval.

This designation means that, with 99 percent certainty, students would fall into an acceptable category if the test were administered multiple times, Spurgeon said.

Groups who don't make that are then evaluated by different criteria to determine whether they made AYP at the third or fourth levels, designated as safe harbor and safe harbor with a confidence interval.

If a group doesn't make either of those, they don't make AYP, Spurgeon said.

De Soto schools made reading and math AYP by the first criteria in all but three sub-categories, in which they made the mark with a confidence interval.

On a district level, special education made AYP by a confidence interval in reading and math. The free and reduced lunch subgroup at Lexington Trails Middle School made AYP by a confidence interval in math.

The assessment information was beneficial, Toelkes said.

"They certainly can be using their results locally to help inform instruction," she said.

Statewide, 102 school buildings did not make AYP. Area schools on the list include Bonner Springs, Olathe South, Lawrence and Shawnee Mission West high schools.

For district and building report cards, or more information about AYP, visit the Kansas State Department of Education Web site at www.ksde.org.

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