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Saturday, August 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Idaho students fare well on new testing program

By Kimberlee Kruesi Associated Press

BOISE – Idaho students scored higher taking new standardized tests compared with the national benchmarks used to measure English language arts and math proficiency.

The Idaho state Department of Education released the preliminary scores Wednesday.

Scores were supposed to be released June 5, but a delay with the vendor pushed back the release date.

This is the first year the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium examination’s scores have been released. Last year, the state rolled out a practice version to students in grades three through 10 to work out the kinks of the new system.

The new tests are aligned with new teaching standards – known as the Idaho Common Core – state lawmakers adopted in 2011. Idaho school districts have been teaching the new standards since 2013.

“Once we were actually in possession of the information, we saw that students did really well,” department spokesman Jeff Church said. “It also points to the hard work teachers have been implementing to teach the new core standards.”

Scores were divided into four categories to indicate students who perform below or above grade level.

According to the data, Idaho students exceeded projected proficiency levels in all grades for English language arts, with high school grades scoring much higher in the top two advance levels. For example, nearly 60 percent of students in 11th grade scored higher than their grade level. The national projected level was set at 41 percent.

However, for math, high school students scored much closer to or below the conservative projected estimates. Thirty percent of 11th-grade students scored in the top two advance levels when the national estimate was set at 33 percent.

The agency only provided information on a statewide level. Church said the state hasn’t received a report comparing all of Idaho’s public school districts from the vendor in charge of grading the test scores. While Church told the Associated Press the information is public, acquiring a district-by-district comparison would require contacting each of Idaho’s 113 districts individually.

“The (agency) would be considered the custodian; however, at this point some districts may not have fully accessed and analyzed the data,” Church said via email. “At this point with it being preliminary data it would be at the discretion of each local district to provide that information.”

School districts now have a choice to appeal the scores before they are finalized later this year.

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