ISTEP+ scores up despite online glitch
BY CHRISTIN NANCE LAZERUS email@example.com September 18, 2013 11:28AM
Beveridge Elementary School resource teacher Danielle Pumell works with a student on a language arts lesson. The Gary school is using different strategies to improve its state evaluation from the 'F' grade it received in 2011 and 2012. | Carole Carlson/Post-Tribune
Schools whose students scored 100 percent on a section of the exam:
Solon Robinson, Crown Point, third grade, English/language arts
Eisenhower, Crown Point, third grade, English/language arts
James Watson, Lake Central, third grade, English/language arts
McCullough Academy, Gary, third grade, English/language arts
Eisenhower, Crown Point, fourth grade, math
Grissom, Lake Ridge, fourth grade, math
McCullough Academy, Gary, fifith grade, English/language arts and math
McCullough Academy, Gary, sixth grade, English/language arts and math
Kouts, East Porter, third grade, English/language arts and math
Simatovich, Union Township, third grade, English/language arts
Memorial, Valparaiso, third grade, English/language arts
Northview, Valparaiso, third grade, English/language arts and math
Parkview, Valparaiso, third grade, English/language arts
Northview, Valparaiso, fourth grade, English/language arts
Kouts, East Porter, fourth grade, English/language arts
Washington Twp., East Porter, fifth grade, math
Discovery Charter School, Porter, eighth grade, English/language arts and math
Morgan Township, East Porter, eighth grade, math
Updated: October 20, 2013 7:31AM
Northwest Indiana schools increased their ISTEP+ passing rates despite concerns about thousands of students getting kicked off the online test in the spring.
Statewide, 79.5 percent of students passed the English/language arts portion of the exam, while 82.7 percent passed the math section; 73.5 percent of students passed both sections. Both were increases from 2012, when 79.4 percent passed the English/language arts portion and 81.2 percent passed the math.
The Indiana Department of Education released preliminary scores Wednesday after a delay to examine whether the computer server interruptions with test vendor CTB/McGraw-Hill compromised some students’ testing sessions. Scores of about 1,388 students were dropped from the totals.
“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,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz. “Despite considerable difficulties, our students improved their overall performance yet again, and deserve our congratulations.”
Ritz said the numbers will be finalized after students and parents have the opportunity to request rescores of the Applied Skills portion of the test. The state is still considering the pass-fail cut on science scores for fourth- and six-graders. Those results won’t be released until late October.
In Northwest Indiana, East Porter County School Corp. saw the highest combined rate of 89.1 percent, while Crown Point Community School Corp. paced Lake County with 88.5 percent of students passing both sections of the test.
Gary Community School Corp. students continued to struggle on the exam, with only 46 percent of students passing both sections of the exam. But Frankie Woods McCullough Academy did offer some bright spots among Gary schools, with 100 percent of its fifth- and sixth-grade students passing both parts of the exam.
“We’ve seen a 3 percent increase in our scores and we are checking on whether or not there were any other irregularities,” said Gary Superintendent Cheryl Pruitt. “As we move forward with online testing, we are hopeful that there are no irregularities and that our scores will continue to increase.”
Notable achievements in Porter County included 100 percent of third-graders at Kouts Elementary, third-graders at Northview Elementary in Valparaiso and eighth-graders at Discovery Charter School passing both parts of the exam.
Valparaiso District Superintendent Michael Berta lauded the performance of students in the district. All third-grade students at Memorial and Parkview elementary schools passed the English/language arts portion, as did fourth-graders at Northview.
“It’s very rewarding to see those kind of numbers,” Berta said. “We have hardworking kids whose moms and dads send their kids to school with high expectations that kids will learn and do well in Valparaiso. Our teachers are very skilled and talented, and we have a well-defined and aligned curriculum that begins in kindergarten and goes through high school. All those things contribute to success.”
The district as a whole sported an 84.5 passing rate — a 0.3 percent decrease from 2012.
Among charter schools, Discover Charter School in Porter led the way with a 90.3 percent passing rate. Other notables included 21st Century Charter School in Gary (68.4 percent); East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy (67.6 percent); and Hammond Science and Technology Academy (65.3 percent).
Private schools performed well, with St. John Evangelist School in St. John (95.1 percent), St. Michael School (89.3 percent); and St. Mary Catholic Community School in Crown Point (89 percent) among those sporting high pass rates.