Purchase photos

Hays students' assessment scores fall

12/5/2013

By JUDY SHERARD

jsherard@dailynews.net

It's report card time for Kansas school districts.

USD 489 scores for students in all grades dropped in all three test areas -- reading, math and science.

Shanna Dinkel, interim director of curriculum, recently presented the results to the board of education.

The overall decline is "a result of transition to Common Core standards," she said. "The assessments haven't been aligned yet with the standards, and the curriculum and all of the instruction."

For defining the test results, proficient is any student who meets the standards or scores above them.

In 2011-12, 95.4 percent of USD 489 students taking the test were proficient in reading. The state average was 87 percent.

For the 2012-13 school year, 91.9 percent were proficient.

State scores also declined to 84.7 percent in 2012-13.

The district reached a high of 94.3 percent proficiency in math in 2011-12 "when teaching standards that matched the test," Dinkel said.

The state average was 84.5 in 2011-12.

This year, the number scoring proficient was 83.5 for the district, and 78.3 for the state.

"So we continue to be above the state average," Dinkel said.

When comparing college and career ready skills in math to retired standards, the grade specific skills are taught changed.

"We call them learning progressions. There was more of a shift in the progressions in math skills than (in) reading which is more process oriented. That's no surprise we saw more of a dip there."

The percentage of USD 489 students scoring proficiency in science was 96 in 2011-12, and the state average was 84.3. The district number dropped to 94.1 percent in 2012-13, and 85 percent of the students in the state were proficient.

District attendance increased slightly from 94.5 percent in 2011-12 to 95 percent in 2012-13. For graduation, the increase was even smaller from 85.3 percent in 2011-12 to 85.5 in 2012-13.

School districts are going through a transition period of change with the standards and assessments.

"It's different than the one we gave last year, and it will be different than the one we give the year after that," Dinkel said of the assessment tests.

When board member Josh Waddell asked how long the transition might take, Dinkel said five years is the trend.

A lot is changing all at once -- standards, assessments and the teacher evaluation system.

Teacher collaboration time will ease the transition.

"Teachers need time to learn," Dinkel said.

Despite not teaching the test standards, "it appears ... we still did well," Waddell said of the results.