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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Proficiency testing underscores importance of reading mastery

Tuesday, January 6, 2004

Much has been in the media about the federal legislation requiring the testing of all students to determine their proficiency levels in math, reading and science.

In Iowa the basic tool used for this measurement is the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills (given in grades two through eight) and the the Iowa Tests of Educational Development (given in grades nine through 12.) All schools are required to report out on grades 4,8 and 11.

As a part of the reporting process, school districts are to report these test scores by subgroups as well as a whole population. For the Storm Lake Community School District, the scores revealed that overall, that 141 students were tested in grade four, 142 in grade 8 and 133 in grade 11. There were Caucasian, Asian and Hispanic students tested throughout the school district.

In all instances the proficiency percentages were considerablly higher for the Caucasian students in the areas of reading, math and science.

It is evident to those who studied the results of these tests that all portions of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Iowa Tests of Educational Development require reading to answer the questions, Superintendent Bill Kruse pointed out.

If English is not the first language of the test taker, the level of difficulty increases dramatically. The Caucasian students are far exceeding the state standards set for reading, math and science.

The task of the school district is to help all students to become proficient and to help those students already proficient to increase their skills, he said.

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