Winter math scores have been tallied and evaluated at Dolores elementary and secondary schools.
During a recent board meeting for the Dolores School District RE-4A, the two school principals presented longitudinal math scores based on an assessment provided by the Northwest Evaluation Association and compared with a national norm.
At the elementary school level, the Dolores average was at or above the national norm in grades one through four, then drops below the norm for fifth and sixth grades. For secondary students, seventh- and eighth-grade scores were below the norm, while ninth-grade students had closed the gap and 10th grade significantly surpassed the national average.
The NWEA test measures student growth, tracking individual students over several years during the fall, winter and spring quarters. The national norm is based on a random sample of students from about 1,000 schools, while the Dolores data included the results from all students.
While NWEA scores are intended to be continuous, without a firm maximum, the recent national and Dolores scores didn’t exceed 240.
First-grade Dolores students scored around 177, while the national norm registered around 174. The local second-graders performed about even with students nationally, with both averages scoring at about 186.
The average for third-grade Dolores students was around 198, just above the national average, while fourth-graders performed consistently with nationwide students at about 207.
The fifth-grade average dropped below the norm, with Dolores students performing on average of 212, compared with a national score of about 217. However, elementary Principal Gary Livick noted – as he had when presenting longitudinal reading scores in February – that a group of friends in that class sped through the test rather than taking it seriously, perhaps skewing the results.
“We had some individuals taking the test very quickly,” Livick said, adding that math teachers would be coming up with a plan to motivate the eight or so boys for the next test.
The gap at the sixth-grade level was still existent, though, with Dolores students scoring just below 215, in contrast to a norm of about 222.
At the secondary level, the gap persisted through the next couple of years, with seventh-graders averaging 217.4 compared with a national norm of 226.1, and eighth-graders at 224.04, in contrast to a national norm of 229.1.
Secondary Principal Jenifer Hufman said that ideally half of grade level students would be performing at the 50th percentile, and that seventh- and eighth-grade scores were concerning. According to her data, only 23 percent of seventh-graders and 27 percent of eighth-graders were at or above the 50th percentile.
Ninth-grade students somewhat closed the gap, however, with a Dolores average of 230.2 compared with a national score of 232.2. And 10th-graders surpassed the nationwide norm by a wide margin, with an average score of 237 in contrast to a national average of 231.5.
For these last two grade levels, 45 percent of Dolores ninth grade students and 69 percent of 10th-grade students were at or above the 50th percentile.
Hufman noted that the 10th-grade performance was encouraging. She highlighted some of the teaching strategies being piloted at that level, in particular using exit tickets at the end of class to determine whether students had mastered a particular lesson objective, and if any part of that lesson required reteaching.
“We need to make sure that we create a system where the kids are working harder ... than the teachers are,” Hufman said.