Administrators with the Atlantic Community School District, Monday, presented the results of the 2014 Iowa Assessment of basic skills before the Board of Education. The results, summarized by Superintendent Dr. Michael Amstein, showed the work teachers and administrators did this past summer with regard to curriculum, made a difference in how the scores improved, in this, the second year of the Iowa Assessments, which replaced the Iowa Test of Basic Skills as a means of gauging student learning and achievement.
Amstein said “The toughest nut to crack here in our district…it’s gotta be the Middle School students, because they have so many things going on.” He says regardless of which test form is used, going up 20-points in a subject such as math, is attributed to the kids being better prepared in order to do that well. Amstein said “The good news is (The students) did well this year. The challenge is to maintain, and do better next year, and I think we have the capabilities to do that.”
Curriculum Director and Schuler Elementary School Principal James Northwick was excited at the trends, which showed Reading scores in grades three through 11 overall, were 79-percent, which was an increase of 10-percent over last year. Math was up 7-percent, to 83-percent overall. Science was up three-percent from last year to 81-percent. Middle School Principal Josh Rasmussen said his teachers and staff were “Very excited about the scores” they got back, because those students demonstrated the most improvement.
At the High School, Principal Heather McKay said the Junior-level Class of 2015, which she says has been their “Class of concern,” has made the least amount of growth in Reading, “But they still had growth.” She said there’s more than can be done to improve the reading scores and that they’re anxious to see how some of what is currently happening in the elementary grade levels as far as improved reading skills will translate into scores once those students reach high school.
The district’s overall proficiency improved in all areas. In the Green Hills AEA survey, preliminary data indicates Atlantic will rank at least in the top third of schools tested in the AEA’s coverage area. The district will continue to strive for 85-percent proficiency.