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Results show most students ready to meet graduation requirements

by Merrie Leininger

With the results of the Achievement Level Tests, the Douglas County School District has a clear picture of which students are meeting the new graduation requirements for reading, math and language and how far behind other students are.

The district coordinator of Assessments, Grants and Projects, Janice Florey, presented the test results to the school board at its Tuesday night meeting at Minden Elementary School. She said the results showed the district would have a big responsibility in continuing to challenge the students who meet the graduation requirements by middle school.

Of the 9th grade students in the district who took the reading test last spring, 320 met or exceeded the required score, while 255 did not.

Of the 9th grade students who took the language test, 297 passed the requirements, while 278 did not.

Of 9th grade students who took the math test, 449 met the graduation requirement and only 126 did not.

Florey said the scores indicated most students would not have trouble meeting their graduation requirements by the 12th grade.

However, for those who have already met the requirements the district now has to look at ways to continue challenging those students.

For last year’s 8th graders, 280 students met reading exit requirements, 70 met 8th grade requirements, and 229 were below their grade requirements.

In the language test, 282 student met the graduation requirements, 111 met the 8th grade requirements, and 188 were below their grade requirements.

In the math test, 385 students met the graduation requirements and 194 were below their grade requirements.

Many 7th graders even met or exceeded the graduation requirements: 179 passed the reading test, 209 passed the language test, and 294 met the math requirements.

“When they meet that requirement, we check it off, but we are still concerned they continue to grow from one year to the next,” Florey said. “Some elementary students we found were very talented in math and we don’t want to overlook those kids who already meet the exit score. We do want to challenge them.”

And the ALT will help chart that growth, she said.

Different ALTs are given to students, depending on their knowledge level. Every student takes the test in the fall and again in the spring. Florey said each student’s test results are kept and compared to the last results and parents are sent all the information. Teachers can also use the information to find out what subject each child needs extra help in or more challenge in.

Superintendent Pendery Clark said these tests will prevent any students from falling through the cracks.

“Every teacher will look at their students’ and who is scoring low to determine if they are getting the special help they need,” she said.

Clark rejected the idea that the graduation requirements are too easy.

“The requirements have to be reasonable for all students to meet. Most of the competencies were written at a 9th or 10th grade level,” she said.

In other board action:

n New administrators. Clark announced that former Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School Vice Principal Rita Elliott had accepted the job of principal at Carson Valley Middle School. Also, Douglas High School Vice Principal John Carlson had transferred to CVMS and would be one of two new vice principals at the middle school. The interviews for the remaining position will be held Thursday, Aug. 19.

Elliott addressed the board.

“I have my roots at Carson Valley Middle School and I love a challenge. I think this will be a good experience. I think we will have a good year,” she said.

n Software. Clark announced the district had received $42,620 worth of funding from the Smallwood Foundation for software programs that would be accessible to the teachers and students in the computer lab at Douglas High School at all times.

The software would allow students to work alone or with a teacher on subjects they are having problems in. The work would be able to be saved and checked later by a teacher. Clark said the school is reconfiguring a computer lab behind the media center to allow for the new software.