Year-to-year comparisons lacking as state changes standardized test again
Cedar Grove-Belgium students are performing above the state average on the ACT and standardized test scores.
On the ACT, the district’s average composite score among juniors from last year was 21.0, compared to the state average of 19.9, Director of Special Education and Pupil Services Tamra O’Keefe reported to the School Board.
District students scored higher than the state average in each of the test’s subjects as well. In English, Cedar Grove-Belgium students scored 20.6 compared to the state average of 19.0; in math, they scored 21.3 compared to the state’s 20.0; in science, students scored 20.6 to the state’s 20.2.
“As a district, we’re performing very well,” O’Keefe said.
A five-year trend shows the district performing above the state average in each subject, in addition to the composite score.
On the Badger Exam, the state’s assessment tool used last year, all grade levels from third through eighth scored better than the state average except fifth-grade math.
“The Badger was a one-time test, thus one lower score is not a good predictor of anything, other than that one time,” O’Keefe said.
“We do take that information though and delve deeper into our curriculum to ensure that it is aligned with the content expected at the fifth-grade math level. The test scores give us information on how to review our processes, which we do continuously to determine if we are using the best tools, teaching methods and curriculum to meet the needs of our students.”
In English language arts, 67.6% of third-graders were proficient/advanced compared to the state’s 51.7%; fourth grade, 79.7% (50.4%); fifth grade, 74.6% (54.5%); sixth grade, 68% (46.4%); seventh grade, 62% (51.6%), and eighth grade, 69.9% (52.7%).
In math, 55.9% of third graders were proficient/advanced to the state’s 51.4%; fourth grade, 68.3% (47.6%), fifth grade, 35.2% (40.4%), sixth grade, 54.7% (41.1%); seventh grade, 46% (43%), and eighth grade, 59% (39%).
“Work associated to closing gaps in English language arts and math among students with disabilities and English Language Learners continues,” Supt. Jeanne Courneene said. “At both the building level and district level, student performance by standard and subgroup is analyzed so that targeted interventions can be identified and applied.”
This year, the state is using a new test called the Forward Exam, which replaces the Badger Exam. If the state doesn’t change tests again, long-term comparisons will be able to be made following this year.
“Year-to-year comparisons with like schools will be conducted after obtaining baseline data with this year’s Forward Exam results,” Courneene said.
Standardized test scores are one of many ways the district measures student progress, O’Keefe said.
“The ACT and Forward are summative tests that tell us how we did, but we rely just as heavily on other data such as grades, attendance, STAR (Standardized Testing And Reporting) data, PALS (Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening) data and curriculum based measurement to determine how best to reach each student to maximize their growth,” she said.