Assessment testing begins Monday in Atlantic School District


October 28th, 2011 by Ric Hanson

Schuler Elementary School Principal and Atlantic School District Curriculum Director Matt Alexander says students in Atlantic Community School District are preparing to take the annual Iowa Assessment tests. Speaking Friday morning on KJAN’s “Heartbeat Today” program, Alexander said the tests, which take place over the next three-weeks, beginning this Monday, are designed to see what students know, and so the district can tailor its curriculum to meet their needs. Alexander says the testing is an on-going process that takes place each year of a students’ education. Atlantic School District Superintendent, Dr. Mike Amstein says the district is required to show its students are making progress, and, while there is always room for improvement, a recent award the district received proves that progress is being made.

He says with the ever-increasing achievement benchmarks for the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), students are being asked annually to raise their performance levels in reading and math. The district recently received a “Breaking Barriers” award for the progress made in the low socio-economic subgroup of students in the 3rd and 6th grades. Amstein says that demonstrates the district doesn’t really have a problem with student achievement. 

Based on the benchmark trajectory, all students will be expected to be proficient in reading and math by 2014. Test results for the 2009-10 school year reveal that Atlantic Community Schools have been identified as a district in need of improvement (DINA) in reading by the Iowa Department of Education. The designation was made because the district did not make adequate yearly progress (AYP) in the area of reading for 2 consecutive years as determined by NCLB. 

In addition, the Atlantic Middle School has been identified as a school in need of improvement (SINA) in the both reading and math based on the 2009-10 student test data. Both the Atlantic High School (math) and Washington Elementary (reading) classes are on a watch list as determined by NCLB, as both schools did not make AYP based on 2009-10 test data.    Matt Alexander says the district targets its improvement efforts based on the results of recent test scores. He says the upcoming tests start Monday at the high school. The following two weeks, they’ll be given to students in grades K-through 8. The results of those tests should be available  just before the Winter break.