April 17, 2024

NV's test scores reviewed

School News

Nodaway Valley students in various grades took a winter assessment called FAST recently. It is a test that is taken multiple times a year and is used to measure growth in various areas of learning.

NV elementary principal James Larson and high school principal Gerry Miller gave reports to the school board Feb. 13 about the results. Middle school principal Sara Honnold was unable to attend the meeting because of activities duties.

Larson said that overall, he’s pleased with the data from his building, although he and teachers are always striving for better results.

“I would say, overall, the scores of ‘meeting benchmark’ did increase. With the snow days and sickness, getting back into the routine of reading, writing and other academics, I think that was impacted too,” Larson said.

Larson said that even in some areas that didn’t meet recommended growth benchmarks, improvement was still seen from fall testing.

At the high school level, Miller said if the data is examined on a large scale, a dip was seen in scores. Breaking it down, there were students who saw growth in their scores and others who “needed reminders of how high stakes these can be at times,” Miller said.

Miller said that on the FAST test, students are able to to retake within a certain window of dates, which gives a teachable moment for students. Another test students are taking in the near future does not carry that opportunity.

“We have seen some growth. I would say that our juniors, from this time last year, had a nice jump in reading,” Miller said.

Miller said that assessment scores from tests like FAST and ISASP (Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress) can sometimes be tied to a student’s ability to take concurrent enrollment classes through community colleges.

The high school principal did say it is exciting to see that 56% of high school students are on one of two honor rolls from first semester.

“We keep digging into the data looking for trends, not only grade-level wise but also individually, especially as we gear toward spring with (ISASPs)” Miller said.

School administrators said they’re working to icentivize good effort on these tests, as their results can oftentimes determine courses of instruction for a student or group of students. That being said, they commented that they are intentional about not drawing conclusions from just one test, saying “you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

Because the FAST test is taken more than once a year, Croghan said he’ll be most interested to see the results of the spring tests, because students will have accumulated even more learning by then.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.