ISTEP scores reflect modest gains for most NWI school districts
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com August 4, 2014 12:02AM
According to the Indiana Department of Education, school districts in Lake and Porter counties saw the following percent of students pass both the math and English portions of the ISTEP:
Edison Learning Roosevelt: 20.3 percent
Gary Community School Corp.: 47.7 percent
School City of East Chicago: 50.3 percent
School City of Hammond: 57.9 percent
Lake Ridge Schools: 65.7 percent
Merrillville Community Schools: 68.4 percent
Lake Station Community Schools: 70.4 percent
Whiting School City: 70.8 percent
River Forest Community School Corp.: 71.1 percent
Griffith Public Schools: 74.7 percent
Hanover Community School Corp.: 76.7 percent
School City of Hobart: 77.2 percent
Tri-Creek School Corp.: 78.5 percent
School Town of Highland: 78.5 percent
Porter Township School Corp.: 78.6 percent
Lake Central School Corp.: 80 percent
Portage Township Schools: 80.6 percent
Duneland School Corp.: 82.1 percent
Union Township School Corp.: 82.4 percent
Metropolitan School District of Boone Township: 83.9 percent
Diocese of Gary: 83.9 percent
Valparaiso Community Schools: 84.8 percent
School Town of Munster: 85.3 percent
Crown Point Community School Corp.: 87.3 percent
East Porter County School Corp.: 91 percent
Updated: September 5, 2014 6:16AM
Although most school districts in Lake and Porter counties saw modest improvements in ISTEP scores, one school dropped to the lowest in the state among public schools, as measured by the percentage of students passing both the math and English portions of the test.
According to the 2014 ISTEP scores just released by the state, just 7.3 percent of seventh- and eighth-graders at Gary’s West Side Leadership Academy passed both major parts of the test. The only grouping of students to fare worse across Indiana were those in the Indiana Department of Correction, which posted a passing rate of zero.
The West Side Leadership Academy has seen a steady drop in ISTEP scores since 2011, when 16.7 percent of students passed both the English and math sections.
The Gary Community School Corp. actually improved as a whole slightly from 2013 to 2014, increasing to 47.7 percent of students passing both sections, up from 46.1 percent in 2013.
Lew Wallace STEM Academy, which just shuttered its doors after the Gary School Board voted to close it due to budget cuts, saw 27.9 percent of seventh- and eighth-graders pass the test, which continued a stretch of small increases since 2011, when 19 percent passed.
Several of Gary’s worst performing elementaries also posted increases, with Beveridge Elementary School increasing from 23.4 percent in 2013 to 31 percent, and Brunswick Elementary School, which was also just closed, increasing from 30.4 percent a year ago to 35.3 percent this year. Gary Supt. Cheryl Pruitt could not be reached for comment.
EdisonLearning, Inc., which runs Theodore Roosevelt Career and Technology Academy, continued to struggle with just 20.3 percent of students passing the ISTEP, the lowest passing rate among districts in Lake and Porter counties. It did continue to show increases since 2012, when Edison Learning took over Roosevelt from Gary and the school saw just 10.4 percent of students pass.
Tony Walker, a Gary lawyer who sits on the state’s education board, argued that the increase in Roosevelt’s ISTEP scores shows the state’s intervention is working.
“Turnaround is unquestionably succeeding under the supervision of the State Board of Education and turnaround school operators,” he said in an email. “Students in neglectful school systems now have better options.”
Walker called for the state to continue intervening in other failing schools to help their students as well.
River Forest Community School Corp. and Portage Township Schools saw the biggest increases, with River Forest increasing 8.1 percentage points to 71.1 percent passing and Portage increasing 6.1 percentage points to 80.6 percent passing.
That makes Portage one of 16 districts in the two counties to either match or exceed the state passing average of 74.7 percent.
East Porter County School Corp. continued to lead all Porter and Lake county school districts, improving to 91 percent passing, while Crown Point Community School Corp. topped Lake County districts with 87.3 percent passing, which is actually down from 88.6 percent from a year ago.
The news was mixed for the region’s charter schools. The East Chicago Urban Enterprise Academy increased from 67.6 percent passing in 2013 to 73.3 percent, and the Hammond Academy of Science and Technology went up from 65.3 percent in 2013 to 70 percent.
However, 21st Century Charter School of Gary dropped more than 20 percentage points, from 68.4 percent passing in 2013 to 45.8 percent. Discovery Charter School in Porter continued to lead the local charter schools with 88 percent passing, but that was down slightly from 90.3 percent last year.
Contributing: Carole Carlson