Private school students in Grades 3 through 8 generally scored better in standardized tests than their public school counterparts.
But while White Creek Lutheran, St. Peter’s Lutheran and St. Bartholomew Catholic schools saw only minor changes from last year, Columbus Christian School was trying to figure out why its passage rate fell by nearly 20 percentage points.
“It’s something we’ll have to address,” Columbus Christian Administrator Kendall Wildey said. “Our job now is to move forward and get those scores back up to where they belong.”
Indiana Statewide for Education Progress-Plus data released by the Indiana Department of Education shows overall strong numbers for the four schools compared with the numbers in the public school systems.
The state records data only for accredited schools, which is why private schools like ABC-Stewart and Northstar Montessori are not listed.
Among the four accredited private schools, White Creek Lutheran School posted the highest rate of students who passed both the language arts and math portions, at 89.2 percent, an improvement of nearly 3 percentage points from last year.
St. Peter’s was second at 87.6 percent, which was mostly unchanged. Both have better combined rates than any school in the Bartholomew Consolidated and Flat Rock-Hawcreek school systems.
For just language arts, White Creek, St. Peter’s and St. Bartholomew recorded 90-plus
percent pass rates, which is better than any of their public school counterparts.
For just math, White Creek and St. Peter’s recorded pass rates of 89 percent or better, which likewise is superior to any public school in either local school system.
Columbus Christian School’s particularly striking drop in combined passage rates — from 89.2 percent to 70.7 percent between last year and this year — is worse than nine out of the 16 public schools who participated in the standardized tests.
Wildey, who took over as the school administrator this year, said part of the reason for the drop probably was because of the school’s participation in the state voucher program.
That program gives state financial assistance to qualifying students in the public school system so their parents can have more choice in their children’s education.
Columbus Christian added about 30 students because of the program.
St. Bartholomew Principal Kathy Schubel said her school, which changed only slightly, already has begun “tearing down” test results in an effort to identify its strengths and weaknesses.
She said the voucher program has not had an effect yet at St. Bartholomew. Last year, the school had no voucher students; this year, the school already has several.
“It will be interesting what test results we see next year,” Schubel said.
Scott Schumacher, principal of St. Peter’s Lutheran School, has watched his school’s numbers stay steady, despite having six voucher students last year. He said the 87.6-percent passing rate this year validates the school’s quality.
White Creek’s nearly 3 point improvement in students who passed the language arts and math portions of the test reflects strong work by the students and teachers, White Creek Principal Jan Buss said.
That school does not participate in the voucher program, because it already has full classrooms and could not handle the influx of accepting more students into the student body.
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