By Ann Jantz, wyo4new.com
Rock Springs, Wyoming — Sweetwater County School District No. 1 showed some small improvements in different grades and subjects on the 2017-2018 WY-TOPP Report, which was released Wednesday.
School District No. 1 followed the example of the statewide scores, showing an increase in proficiency rates over most grade levels and content areas.
Superintendent Kelly McGovern told Wyo4News they compared this year’s scores with the previous two and three years, looking for growth within the district and how the district compared to the state.
“We had a lot of positives,” she said.
Some of those gains include:
- The district third grade percentage of students scoring proficient and advanced in English Language Arts came in at 58.45%, compared to 51.47% the previous year, a 7% gain over the previous year. “That’s a huge gain,” McGovern said.
- Another modest gain happened in fourth grade science, with the district percentage of proficient and advanced students coming at 51.39% compared to 46.09% the year before — a nice gain as well, according to McGovern.
- Eighth grade English Language Arts district percentage dropped slightly, from 62.5% in 2016-2017 to 61.90%. However, this year’s percentage of proficient and advanced students was higher than the state average of 60.7%, the second year in a row.
- McGovern complimented the effort students made in fifth grade math, which was up a couple of percentage points. She said they are moving in the right direction, and the district will keep working on helping students improve.
- Ninth grade showed gains in both math and English Language Arts content areas, at 43.98% and 49.20% respectively, up from last year’s 35.24% and 38.24%. Math was above the state average of 40%, McGovern noted.
- Making a huge jump was Farson-Eden’s fifth grade math proficient and advanced percentage — from 42.9% last year to 79.2% this year. “That’s almost 30%. That’s a huge win for them,” McGovern said. They also did quite a bit better than the state average at 55.5%.
- Black Butte High School also had a huge gain in ninth grade English Language Arts, with 57.9% scoring proficient and advanced. This is a 39.7% gain over last year’s score of 20%. “Kudos to them,” McGovern said.
Dips in the district were slight but still of note. The number of students scoring in the proficient and advanced range dropped slightly across all content areas in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades in the district. Tenth grade dropped in math and science, but had a very small gain in ELA.
McGovern noted there are always opportunities for growth, and while the district would love some scores to be much higher, the small jumps forward show growth. She said the district will work hard to keep all students moving in the right direction.
Available as part of WY-TOPP are modular assessments. McGovern described these as “practice simulations” across all the content areas. Teachers are able to have students log on any time to take one of the assessments; this gives teachers needed information about what students — and themselves — need to work on.
“They are great,” according to McGovern. And now that the district was able to provide students with a laptop, access for them is “right there,” she added.
Eleventh grade ACT scores held steady for RSHS at 17.2, the same as the district average. This is, however, a little lower than the state average of 18.4.
McGovern noted RSHS, Farson High School and Black Butte all showed gains in their ACT reading scores. Also improving was RSHS’s science scores, going from 18.2 to 19.2; this is still below the state average of 19.8.
The highest a student can score on the ACT is 36. McGovern pointed out that several students at RSHS have gotten a perfect score.
As the district looks forward, McGovern said the focus will remain on teachers collaborating in their Professional Learning Communities and continuing with Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports. Both focus on the positives in the school environment and ultimately mean good things for students, she added.
A close eye will also be given to RSHS’s new schedule. McGovern said an update about how this change is progressing will be provided at the September school board meeting.
McGovern also said the WY-TOPP scores will be presented at the October school board meeting, so that administrators will also have the district’s performance report, which comes out mid-September.
“I think the district as a whole is growing student performance and moving in the right direction,” McGovern said. She thanked teachers for all that they do for students and the administrators that support teachers. “It’s all about kids.”
To see the entire results for the second administration of the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP), go online at the Wyoming Department of Education.