By Katie Dahlstrom
Herald Sports Writer
The Clinton School District has both successes to celebrate and areas to improve with regard to students’ Adequate Yearly Progress mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act.
The results from the test taken in 2011 were a mixed bag of higher and lower scores than previous years, which could be partially attributed to the change in test, school officials said.
In previous years, students’ AYP was measured with the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. This year, however, the ITBS was replaced with the Iowa Assessments.
“I need to issue a disclaimer,” School District Curriculum Director John Jorgensen said of the results from 2010 compared to those from 2011. “It’s a brand new assessment, you’re comparing apples to oranges.”
Giving his best attempt to compare the scores from 2011 with 2010, Jorgensen said reading for elementary students was about the same while math was a little lower. Middle schools across the state went down across the state as state-wide high school scores went up, he said.
AYP in math and reading is measured for students in third through fifth grade, six through eighth grade and 11th grade. These three age groups are broken down into smaller subgroups such as special education, students with the low socioeconomic status, and by ethnicity.
In line with the state trend, Clinton High School students’ scores in English rose by 11 percent, to hit the 85 percent target. Math scores for the same group missed the goal by only 2 percent.
While other age groups came close, no others hit the targets, which all hover between 81 and 83 percent.
The district, individual schools and subgroups can be put on the “in need of assistance list” if they do not meet the standards set by NCLB for two consecutive years and receive Title I funding. The Clinton School District receives around $900,000 in Title I funding a year for the elementary schools based on their free and reduced rate.
Schools are eligible to receive Title I funding if 35 percent or more of students qualify for the free and reduced meal program. This year, 59.5 percent of Clinton School District students qualified while the state average is 39.4 percent.
Based on 2011 test results, Bluff and Eagle Heights Elementary School were designated in need of assistance. Both schools had groups that did not meet the 82 percent goal for reading or the 83 percent goal for math.
Because of the “in need of assistance” status and the Title I funding both schools receive, Superintendent Deb Olson was required to notify parents or guardians of students at both schools that they could transfer to Jefferson or Whittier. Bluff and Eagle Heights students also are eligible to receive supplemental education services.
“All of our schools remain fully accredited and are in complete compliance with State of Iowa regulation,” Olson reminded parents in her letter.
Although Bluff and Eagle Heights scores were down, across the district there were many other successes, including special education results in elementary school reading scores.
“We’ve had some steady growth in special education. Even though the tests changed, we still were able to make progress,” Olson said. “I think that speaks volumes.”
In addition, the District was removed had the in need of assistance status for reading lifted and Clinton High School and Jefferson were removed from the in need of assistance list for all.
The district will work to improve student achievement by fostering relationships between teachers throughout the district and monitoring academic, behavior and teacher actions.
“We’re committed to giving kids in this community the best,” Olson said.