Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2006

Lansing schools achieve federal test mandate

Math, reading assessment scores above targets

November 30, 2006

The grades are in and the Lansing school district has passed another round of Annual Yearly Progress goals.

AYP, a federal mandate of the No Child Left Behind law, is based on reading and math scores from state testing conducted in the spring.

Assistant superintendent Donna Hughes said much of the credit for the passing grade goes to Lansing schoolteachers because they pay close attention to standards on the tests, ensuring the district's curriculum aligns with those standards.

"I think that all the teachers work really hard, and they're very cognizant of the fact that we are accountable, so they are doing everything they can to ensure that we achieve that proficiency level," she said.

Lansing students in third through eighth grades, plus sophomores, took the math assessment.

To meet the target, 60.1 percent of students through the eighth grade and 46.8 percent of high-schoolers had to meet proficiency.

Overall, 82.2 percent of Lansing test-takers were deemed proficient, compared to 74 percent statewide.

Students in third through eighth grades and juniors were tested in reading.

To reach the target, 63.4 percent of students through the eighth grade and 58 percent of high-schoolers had to meet proficiency.

Overall, 89.5 percent of Lansing test-takers scored at the proficiency level or better, compared to 79.8 percent statewide.

According to a Kansas Department of Education news release, 86 percent of Kansas schools met the targets for the Kansas assessment tests, which were revised to align with new content standards in 2006.

By 2014, schools must reach 100 percent proficiency to be in compliance with No Child Left Behind standards.

While many educators have bemoaned the requirements and called them unrealistic, Hughes said she believed proficiency was attainable.

"It doesn't mean that students have to score 100 percent," she said. "It means that 100 percent of our students have to meet the targets.

"It doesn't mean it will be easy to do, because I do believe that students who are struggling have to have the extra time, they have to have the extra resources. The teacher has to spend a great deal of time analyzing their strengths and their weaknesses to figure out exactly how they learn."

AYP also has to be met by subgroups across the district. Subgroups contain 30 or more students in categories determined by ethnicity, income, language, gifted status and special needs.

All subgroups met AYP standards in the Lansing school district, including special education students, who form the district's largest subgroup.

"We actually have more special ed students than we have students on free or reduced lunches. Because our numbers are the largest there, that's going to be the hardest for us to continue to maintain," Hughes said.

Overall, 56.1 percent of 122 Lansing special education students tested proficient in math, and 75 percent of 118 students demonstrated proficiency in reading.

Six Leavenworth County public schools did not meet AYP, according to preliminary findings released by the Department of Education.

In the Leavenworth school district, Nettie Harnett/Ben Day Elementary School, Richard W. Warren Middle School and Leavenworth High School did not meet targets for reading and math. David Brewer Elementary School and West Middle School did not meet the reading target.

Tonganoxie Elementary School did not reach target proficiency for math.

Later this fall, the Department of Education will release building report cards for all Kansas schools. The department will use state assessment scores to determine which schools have achieved the Building Standard of Excellence, a state honor.

In January and February, a new round of testing will begin at Lansing's four schools with the state's writing assessment. Math and reading testing will occur in the spring.


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