Test scores improve, but continue to lag behind

G ranville students showed improvement in both math and English on the state tests but continue to lag behind their peers across the state.
The percentage of local students who achieved proficiency on the math exam increased by nearly 10 percent, from 18 percent of students in 2013 to 28 percent this year. The improvement on the English Language Arts (ELA) was less pronounced, but still positive, as 28 percent of students achieved passed compared to 25 percent in 2013.
Even with the improvement, the percentage of students who passed the exams is still below the state average. Statewide, the percentage of students who passed the math exam increased from 31 percent in 2013 to 36 percent this year. The percentage of students who passed the English exam was static at 31 percent, the same rate as in 2013.
“We’re happy with some of the results, but we still have a long ways to go,” Superintendent Mark Bessen said. “We want to be at or above the state level.”
The tests, which were administered in the spring, are graded on a scale of 1 to 4, with the state considering levels 3 and 4 to be a passing grade.
The results were released earlier this month and were presented so that the performance of students who took the exam last year can be compared to their performance at the next grade level.
Bessen said officials like to examine cohorts to see how students at one grade level did the following year at the next grade level because it helps identify growth and needs in specific subjects.
On the English exam, five of the six cohorts showed improvement over the previous year. Students in eighth grade showed the most growth with 51 percent achieving a passing score compared to 42 percent in 2013 when they were seventh graders.
The only cohort that failed to show improvement was this year’s sixth grade class. Twenty-three percent of those students passed this year compared to 25 percent when they were fifth graders.
Students exhibited greater growth on the math exam. Three of the five cohorts displayed double digit improvement. In 2013, only 15 percent of fourth graders passed the exam, but in 2014 as fifth graders, 38 percent of those same students recorded a passing score. This year’s sixth grade class displayed a 13 percent increase while the number of fourth grade students who passed increased 10 percent compared to their performance as third graders.
The only cohort that didn’t either display growth or remain static was this year’s eighth graders. Only 16 percent scored at level 3 or 4 compared to 29 percent when they were in seventh grade.
Although local students didn’t perform as well compared to their peers across the state, their performance was at least comparable to other students in Washington County where 30 percent (compared to 28 percent in Granville) of students passed the math test and 26 percent (28 percent in Granville) passed the English exam.
Bessen also pointed out that the district did well compared to other “high need, rural districts.” Of the 500-plus students who took the exams last year, 48 percent were considered “economically disadvantaged,” compared to 44 percent statewide.
Statewide, there was a correlation between poverty and performance on the tests with the percentage of economically disadvantaged students who passed 10 percent lower on the math and 11 percent lower on the English exam than non-economically disadvantaged students.

 

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