June 6, 2010

Schools struggle to meet federal testing standards

Schools struggle to meet federal testing standards

By Jill Denning Gackle
It’s disappointing, but not daunting.
That was the sentiment of two school superintendents who learned recently that their schools – elementary through high school – did not meet the federal No Child Left Behind standards.
It was the first time the New Town High School did not meet the adequate yearly progress in reading and math, set forth by federal testing. It was the third time for the New Town middle school and elementary schools and the Parshall elementary school. It’s the second time for the Parshall High School.
They are among 122 schools statewide that did not make adequate yearly progress. That’s 27 percent of the state’s 338 schools that did not make adequate progress during the 2009-10 year. The previous year 25 percent failed to make the grade.
Both schools superintendents spoke highly of their teachers and the education the students are receiving.
Parshall School Superintendent Steve Cascaden said, “Parshall schools always pride themselves on getting a good education and they still get one.”
New Town Superintendent Marc Bluestone echoed the same, “I’m proud of what our staff does and what our kids do. We just need to do a little tweaking.”
Both superintendents said that the tests are tough in small classrooms. When a student doesn’t finish the untimed test, the score comes back as a zero, bringing down the average of the entire class. If a student in special education classes is working below grade level, that student takes the same test as the rest of his/her grade.
Bluestone said the district is focusing on high quality instruction. The board approved the purchase Friday of $202,000 worth of new reading textbooks for grades kindergarten through sixth. He said the beauty of the textbook series is that it is designed for today’s youth and integrates the interactive white boards used in the classrooms.
 


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