Ideas aim to help pupils do better on state tests

BOARDMAN -- Some possible ways to help pupils improve their scores on the most recent state tests include more practice tests, additional personnel and training sessions.
State report cards released last week show the district's rating slipped from excellent for 2003 to 2004 to continuous improvement for 2004 to 2005. The school district didn't meet Adequate Yearly Progress goals for the third consecutive year, meaning that even though its performance scores increased, it couldn't earn a higher rating than continuous improvement.
The state measures AYP goals of proficiency for each district and each school in 10 pupil groups.
The 10 groups are: All pupils, black, American Indian, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, multiracial, white, economically disadvantaged, limited English proficient and pupils with disabilities.
AYP goals set the percentage of pupils who must achieve a score of proficient or above in reading and math, the percentage of enrolled pupils who participate in the testing in those subjects, and the percentage of pupils who must actually attend and graduate that school year.
An assessment
Robert Hendrickson, director of instruction, told board members Monday that the rating doesn't mean Boardman is no longer an excellent school district.
He pointed out that achieving AYP isn't often an issue for most districts with excellent ratings because they are either relatively affluent or relatively small and they rarely have much diversity in student population.
"The end result is that few top districts are as large and diverse as Boardman schools," Hendrickson said.
The presence of transient pupils, or those who come into the district from another district, also can effect how the district fares, he said.
But the district accepts the responsibility to address the areas that need improvement, both he and Frank Lazzeri, superintendent, have said.
One of the areas where pupils didn't test as well was in middle school math.
Wendy Carothers, supervisor of special programs, presented some ideas to address that.
Increasing pupil exposure to practice tests on a regular basis was one of her suggestions. Conducting targeted training to examine assessments of test results was another.
Carothers also suggested adding two part-time middle school math-intervention teachers to examine individual areas of the test where a particular pupil had difficulty and tailoring that pupil's math tutoring accordingly.

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