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Creston School District discusses child assessment

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 10:00 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013 10:04 a.m. CST

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Creston School District held its monthly school board meeting Monday, and discussion zeroed in on student assessment in academics, physical education and career technology.

Academic achievement

Creston School Board was presented with several graphs displaying the academic growth and decline in the areas of reading, math and science.

In the area of math, the No Child Left Behind Act set trajectories at the fourth, eighth, and 11th grade year starting in 2002. By 2014, the trajectories are expected to be at 100 percent proficient.

The next graph looked at math proficiencies for fourth-, eighth-, and eleventh-grade students starting in the 2008-09 school year for Iowa Test of Basic Skills, Iowa Test of Educational Development and Iowa Assessment. As of the 2012-13 school year, all grades improved in math. All grades have improved in math since last school year.

“It’s going to take a herculean effort to keep it up there,” said interim Superintendent Chuck Scott. “There isn’t much room to move. Once you’re at that high percentage, it will take a very concentrated effort all day, every day to sustain that.”

In the area of reading, the No Child Left Behind reading trajectory graph is set for 100 percent proficiency by 2014. Sixth grade was the only grade to have a declining reading proficiency, dropping 7.3 percent. In the past five years, reading proficiency on Iowa assessment tests has been continually dropping; however, for all grades it has improved this school year.

In the area of science, there is no trajectory chart. Iowa assessment tests are above 80 percent for 2012-13 school year. This year, fifth-grade students’ proficiency dropped .3 percent, and seventh-grade students’ proficiency dropped 6.4 percent. Third grade proficiency increased almost 20 percent, on the other hand, and eight grade proficiency increased more than 20 percent.

Proficiency means the percentage of students that are at the 41st percentile and above.

P.E.

Kevin Cooper, Creston Elementary School physical-education teacher, presented a video of elementary students in class to illustrate the physical education curriculum.

The video consisted of multiple sports such as wrestling, gymnastics and bowling. Each sport the kids participated in had rules. For example, in gymnastics there were mats on the floor for the kids to tumble on. A vault was built of mats, but the kids were not allowed to flip over the vault. There was also a station of adapted bowling for special needs children.

In the physical-education curriculum report concerning junior kindergarten through fifth grade P.E. benchmarks, all were 100 percent proficient except kindergarten at 99 percent. In grades six through eight, seventh grade had the lowest proficiency at 99 percent. In high school P.E. and health classes, the lowest was fitness with 99 percent proficiency.

The physical education report also had the fitness results for the national and presidential fitness tests.

The report said the data “gives us a really good snapshot of the overall fitness of our elementary P.E. students. ... Our students struggle in the area of endurance run, and our students also struggle with upper body strength when compared to other students their age.”

The report also said the goal “is to focus on these areas more, continue reteaching and encouraging students to improve in these two areas.”

Career technology

Creston High School industrial technology teacher Phil Wardenburg was also present.

Wardenburg discussed the career and technical education curriculum via a curriculum report based on a questionnaire given to the career and technical education instructors at Creston High School. The report included questions, answers from each area of education and course benchmark results from 2011-2012.

“Most of these benchmarks are probably state or national benchmarks that have been developed over time,” said Wardenburg.

Of all the career and technical education benchmarks, two classes were not fully proficient. Business applications had 79 percent proficiency, and drafting had 78 percent proficiency.

“I know in some areas we’re bringing more rigor and relevance,” Wardenburg said. “You know, what is real out there in the world to these vocational areas?”

Wardenburg also said he tries incorporating core areas in his industrial technology classes, such as using science in welding and history in construction, so students maintain that core learning.

In other Creston School Board news:

• Cheryl Crall’s seventh-grade students were present and gave the school board their opinions on using technology, like iPods and Kindles, in the classroom.

• The board did not recommend an increase in driver’s education fees. The fees will remain the same: $350 for Creston students and $400 for out-of-district students.

• There will be a public meeting 9 a.m. Tuesday with Iowa Homeland Security to discuss possible places of improvement within the school district buildings.

• The board tabled the administrative team fringe benefits policy.

• “It was incredible how full our commons was,” said Scott Driskell, dean of students at Creston Elementary School, of Family Literacy Night Jan. 22. The elementary school will host Family Math Night April 11 at 5:15 p.m.

• Creston School Board approved the new position of director of special populations.

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