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Crawford, state soar on ISTEP-Plus

October 02, 2013
Students and teachers within the Crawford County School Corp. and across the state have a reason to smile. On Sept. 18, the Indiana Department of Education released the ISTEP+ scores, and for the third year in a row, Crawford County has seen significant gains.

Students statewide broke records last year, with their scores on the Indiana Statewide Testing for Education Progress-Plus hitting all-time highs on all portions of the test that saw 71 percent of students passing both the English/language arts and math portions. Last year's 71-percent passing rate was a 1-percent gain over the 2010-11 school year and an 8-percent gain from the 2008-09 year.

This year's data, while preliminary, shows that scores went up again statewide.

Seventy-nine and a half percent of Indiana students passed the English/Language Arts portion of the test and 82.7 percent passed the math portion.

That's roughly the same percentage of students who passed the English/language arts section of the test last year, with only a gain of 0.01 percent; 81.2 percent of students passed the math portion in 2012. This year saw an increase of 1.5 percent for students who completed the math requirements.

The big number to watch is the amount of students who passed both sections simultaneously; for 2013-14, 73.5 percent of all students passed both sections.

"First, I want to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Indiana students, parents, educators, administrators and the employees of the Department of Education for their efforts during the administration of this test," Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said. "Despite considerable difficulties, our students improved their overall performance yet again, and deserve our congratulations."

ISTEP+ is given each spring to students in grades 3 through 8, and its goal is to measure how well students perform and comprehend the skills and content outlined in the Indiana Academic Standards.

Statewide, 76.2 percent of eighth-graders passed the English/language arts portion and 81.2 percent passed math compared to 74.2 percent for English/language arts and 80.1 percent for math in 2012.

Seventh-grade students saw a drop in statewide English/language arts scores and a gain in math comprehension, with 74.2 percent and 80.percent, respectively. That is compared to 76.3 percent for English/language arts and 79 percent for math in 2012.

Sixth-grade students also saw a slight decline in passing English/language arts scores from 2012 to 2013. Seventy-seven percent of students passed their English/language arts test and 84 percent of students passed the math portion, compared to 78.7 percent for English/language arts and 83 percent for math in 2012.

Fourth and fifth grades both saw gains, with 79.2 percent of fifth-grade students passing their English/language arts and 87 percent passing math compared to 78.4 percent and 86.2 percent for in 2012. Slightly more than 84 percent of fourth-grade students passed their English/language arts, and 83.5 percent passed math, compared to 82.4 percent for English/language arts and 79.1 percent for math in 2012.

Finally, 85.2 percent of third-grade students passed their English/language arts and 80.1 percent passed math, compared to 86.2 percent for English/language arts and 79.6 percent for math in 2012.

Science content on the 2013 ISTEP+ was based on the new science standards adopted in 2010. The Education Roundtable and the State Board of Education will consider science scores in the coming weeks. Their release is projected to take place in late October.

So, how do Crawford County students stack up?

In 2012, corporation-wide, students' English/language arts scores topped out with 81.8 percent of students passing, 2.8 percent above the state average. In math, 91 percent of students earned a passing grade, 10 percent above the state average.

This year, Crawford County students saw large gains and did well overall, Superintendent Dr. Mark Eastridge said.

Corporation-wide, 87 percent of students passed the English/language arts portion of the test and 93.4 percent of Crawford County students passed the math portion. Overall, 84.5 percent of students passed both portions.

These numbers are well above the national average.

"I think it's very complimentary to our students, teachers, parents and community members who all play a part in how well our students have done," Eastridge said. "It has put us at 31st in the state, and that says something about what we do here."

Eastridge went on to say that the lowest scores the corporation had in English/language arts still allowed it to be ranked in the top 15 percent of schools in the state.

"That's not a bad place to be," he said.

The 2013-14 numbers are preliminary and will be finalized after students and parents have the opportunity to request re-scores of the Applied Skills portion of the test. School and corporation level data can be found at www.doe.in.gov/improvement/accountability/find-school-and-corporation-data-reports.

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