Archive for Thursday, October 13, 2005

Making the Grades

Final testing data confirms Basehor-Linwood students

October 13, 2005

Information released Tuesday confirms what Basehor-Linwood administrators have been publicizing for the last several months -- that district schools are making the grade.

The Kansas Department of Education released finalized testing data for all schools in Kansas on Tuesday. According to the department of education, 13 of 18 Basehor-Linwood schools reached the standard of excellence on state assessments tests last year.

Each school in the district met annual yearly progress (AYP) standards. AYP is used as a benchmark in determining a district's compliance with the federal mandate, the No Child Left Behind Act.

Though the testing data only reaffirms what district officials learned months ago, assistant superintendent Bill Hatfield, who's primarily responsible for overseeing curriculum, said Tuesday's news was still met with enthusiasm.

"I'm very pleased with 13 of 18 standards of excellence," said Hatfield, who's primarily responsible for overseeing curriculum. "The staff, parents and students should be, and can be, pleased. Those numbers are very encouraging."

Basehor-Linwood has never before reached such high marks on the assessment tests.

Both Hatfield and superintendent Jill Hackett credit the improved test scores to a renewed emphasis on revising curriculum and teaching strategies in recent years.

"We are very pleased with these results," Hackett said. "We believe these results indicate that our curriculum revisions and instructional strategies are appropriate and effective."

Each school in the district reached standards of excellence in at least one subject. According to the department of education:

  • Basehor-Linwood High School achieved standards of excellence in reading and science.
  • Basehor-Linwood Middle School achieved standards of excellence in social studies.
  • Basehor, Glenwood Ridge and Linwood elementary schools achieved standards of excellence in math, reading and science.
  • Basehor-Linwood sixth-grade center achieved standards of excellence in social studies.

With a few tweaks here and there, the standards of excellence total could have been higher: the district missed out on excellence standards for middle school reading by fractions of percentage points.

"We were very close to 14," Hatfield said.

While the district is pleased with the results, improving test scores is a game that never ends. Hatfield said educators and administrators would review the testing data and target areas for improvement.

"Any of them not at that level, we'll be targeting," he said. "I know every school want to achieve standards of excellence. We're very, very close."

The assistant superintendent pointed to strides made in areas such high school math as evidence that Basehor-Linwood is reshaping its testing landscape. In two years, the high school has improved its math scores by nearly 30 percentage points.

"We have been working constantly to improve and scores continue to show dramatic increases from year to year," Hatfield said. "We feel confident that trend will continue.

"We've got a ways to go, we know that, but we'll get there."

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