State lauds IRI, ISAT test results

Idaho students are getting more proficient on core subjects, according to a new round of standardized test data released by the State Department of Education on Monday morning.

According to the state, preliminary data on the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) shows overall student proficiency in math and language arts increased in 2019:

  • Math proficiency: 44.43 percent
  • English Language Arts Proficiency: 55 percent

“It’s encouraging to see steady increases, both from year to year and from grade to grade as students progress,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra said in a news release.

Those scores, while up from years past, do not meet the benchmark scores the state hoped to meet in 2019, as per its plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act. The 2019 target for ELA proficiency was 60.8 percent. For math, 51.3 percent.

In the news release, the state points to “promising trends” in proficiency scores from grade to grade. Third graders who were 50 percent proficient in ELA in 2018 rose to 52 percent proficient this year. Fourth graders at a 50 percent proficiency, increased to 57 percent in fifth grade.

Source: Idaho State Department of Education

The math scores show “less consistent progress,” the news release says. Math proficiency declined, for example, for students who were in 7th grade in 2016. That year, they were 42 percent proficient. This year, in 10th grade, that cohort tested only 33 percent proficient in math.

Ybarra said that the state intends to analyze the ISAT results for “a meaningful understanding of student progress and the trends in student cohorts.”

Source: Idaho State Department of Education

Also released Monday were the first statewide test results generated by a new Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) exam for students in Kindergarten through third grade.

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The online test measures things like  vocabulary, comprehension and fluency to gauge a student’s reading skills.

Preliminary test results showed that about half of K-3 students tested were reading at grade level last fall. That improved to about 70 percent of students reading at grade level when the same kids were tested again in the spring.

Because of a change in the test, the State Department of Education said in a news release, the student improvement scores can’t be measured directly against the K-3 reading tests used in previous years.

“Having this baseline data for reading proficiency is critically important to ensure that Idaho students are making progress toward the goal of reading at grade level by the end of third grade,” Ybarra said in the news release.

Finalized IRI results, including a district-level analysis of the test results, is expected in August.

Source: Idaho State Department of Education

 

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