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Seventh grade NeSA math score ‘phenomenal’

District 20 students who meet, exceed state standards hovers around 80%

During the four years Dist. 20 students have taken NeSA tests, no grade has ever come close to or exceeded state standards.

That changed this year when last semester’s seventh graders earned an average scale score of 134 in math on the Nebraska State Accountability test.

“It’s never happened when the kids have taken NeSA,” said data coordinator and junior high principal Ryan Groene. “It’s pretty tough to do.”

The 134 is just under the “exceed” range of 135-200.

However a 135 score is posted on the Nebraska Department of Education website at www.education.ne.gov.

“Regardless, both numbers are phenomenal,” Groene said, noting that his figure is from the DRC testing company that produces the NeSA test.

Students took the NeSA tests last spring.

The principal is also pleased with the rest of the NeSA math, reading and science scores recently released by the NDE.

Most of those scores showed that 80% of the district’s NeSA test takers met or exceeded standards.

In fact, 80% of the seven graders tested in math met or exceeded standards compared to 79% last year.

Reading scores also stayed fairly constant with 78% of the test takers meeting or exceeding compared to 79% in 2012.

Science scores, the newest subject tested, put 82% in the “met or exceed standards” category while 81% did last year.

All but two scores were above the state score average.

Last year’s eighth graders received a score of 102 in reading which dipped 13 points below the state average of 115.

Fourth graders produced a 108 math score, missing the average state score of 109 by a point.

“We’re putting things in place and going over the curriculum to make sure students are as prepared as they can for the NeSA tests in the spring,” Groene said.

To insure that teachers know and understand assessment scores, the district will have its second annual data analysis in-service on Sept. 23.

Classes are dismissed for the day.

“Teachers are excited to get into the data because they want to know how their students are doing,” Groene said. “They want to know if what they’re doing in the classroom shows up in the results.

“ I think it’s very beneficial.”

Results from NeSA, MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) and classroom assessments will be analyzed.

The district has also added a specialist for grades seven through nine to improve reading skills.

Groene described the addition as a continuation of what’s called program specific instruction used to boost reading capability at the elementary level.

Nebraska public schools students scored higher on state reading, mathematics and science tests than in previous years, NDE officials said.

Fourth-grade writing scores were released and published in May.

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