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Editorial: Area schools’ ISTEP gains something we can celebrate

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Indiana educators often downplay year-to-year comparisons of ISTEP+ results, pointing out that different students are being compared to each other and that socioeconomic factors come into play when considering different schools within the same district.

With a new assessment planned in the spring, the value of the latest results have been questioned.

However, changes coming to the ISTEP test should not diminish the progress students in Bartholomew County made.

The Indiana Department of Education released results Aug. 4 of testing administered in the spring to students in Grades 3 through 8. Higher scores were evident almost across the board in Bartholomew Consolidated and Flat Rock-Hawcreek school corporations. The percentages of students passing math, English and both portions of the test increased for both school districts.

Three private schools, St. Bartholomew Catholic, St. Peter’s Lutheran and White River Lutheran, also showed gains in multiple categories.

Most notable, though, is that some schools made tremendous strides of 10 percentage points or more in their year-to-year scores. Mt. Healthy Elementary improved by at least 10 percentage points in each category. The percentage

of Clifty Creek Elementary students passing English jumped 16 points, while the percentage passing both portions increased 11 points. Hope Elementary improved in each category, including an 11-percentage-point jump in math.

The improvements are particularly important for Clifty Creek and Hope because both were designated priority schools by the state Department of Education for low scores the previous three school years.

Clearly, the approaches being taken to give students the skills they need in today’s environment appear to be working. School administrators credited teachers for knowing their students well and how to motivate them to learn at their highest levels.

That’s worth celebrating, just like the improved scores.

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