Friday, October 24, 2014
   
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District fulfills math, reading expectations

Students meet, exceed standards on state NsEA tests.

Gothenburg Public School students and teachers are doing what they’re supposed to be doing when it comes to NsEA (Nebraska State Accountability) test results.

That’s the take from curriculum director and junior high principal Ryan Groene about 2011 NsEA math and reading results released Monday by the Nebraska State Department of Education.

Students, across the state, were tested last spring.

“We want to stay above the state average in all of the categories and we do that for the most part,” Groene said.

On a first-ever NsEA math test, local students in third, through seven and eleven grades, were above the average state score.

Fifth graders had the highest average in both math (123) compared to 103 for the state and in reading with 121 (state 109.)

Eighth graders scored the lowest in math with 97 compared to 98 for the state, and in reading where they earned a 97 compared to 106 for the state.

Last spring was the second time, students took a NsEA reading test where third, fifth, sixth and eleventh grades climbed above the average score.

In fourth, seventh and eighth grades, the majority met or exceeded standards which is the benchmark Groene considers.

Groene said individual NeSA test results in math and science will be mailed to parents this week.

Results for the first NsEA writing test, the only non-multiple-choice test, will be released in October.

This spring, they will be tested in science as well as in reading, writing and math.

From NsEA data, Groene said teachers and administrators determine how to improve instruction and curriculum.

Nebraska school districts used to give a School-based, Teacher-led Assessment Reporting System (STARS) where students were tested—often repeatedly—after the point of instruction until they understood an academic standard.

NeSA is a one-shot test—a snapshot of a student’s ability— on a certain day, Groene said.

Because of the federal No Child Left Behind policy, Nebraska school districts had to change from the STARS system to the NeSA test for accountability purposes.

District 20 students take the tests online with the exception of writing in the fourth grade where they use paper and pencil.

To help students prepare for the tests, Groene said the district will participate in a program where three teachers will be sent to training to prepare review NsEA questions.

In return, the district will have electronic access to the sample questions statewide.

About 63% of Nebraska students met or exceeded math standards and nearly 72% met or exceeded state reading goals.

Scores for individual districts are available at: www.education.ne.gov.

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