The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

ISTEP this week

This is the week that ISTEP tests are given throughout Indiana in grades 3-10. It is especially important in Wawasee Schools this year because this is our "documentation year." That means that we must "document" our students' achievement this year and compare it to our students' achievement from several years ago and see if the students have improved in certain goal areas.

Our goals are NOT to improve test scores. Our goals are to improve the skills of our students.

Yet we continue to be asked the important question, "How do you know if they are getting better in their skills?" Of course we then go back to different assessments and look for patterns in the data.

There are people in the school district who are trained to do fairly complex data analysis in order to try and answer these two questions:

Did our students get better in the school's goal areas?
If so how much better? A little, A lot?
If students declined in their achievement was it a little or a lot?

Then the hardest question of all for a faculty to answer is..."If they got better in the goal areas, what interventions did we use that made the biggest difference? If they declined why did they decline?

This is the heart of what all professionals do in any profession. Analyze their own performances for feedback so they can better serve.

ISTEP is not only used for assessment at the individual student level, but it is just one part of a school-wide multi-faceted assessment plan that is being used to reflect on our own professional practices.

3 comments:

Chris Lantz said...

How is it far or possible to accurately compare the ISTEP achievement scores from this year and ISTEP achievement scores from say 10 years ago? I feel that it is a totally inaccurate way to compare students then and now. They are different students, different circumstances, and the student population has completely changed, even in Wawasee Community Schools. Also, hasn't the test changed over the years, to make it more challenging? The standards and tests were not as challenging several years ago as they are today. It can be said then that it would not be fair or sensible to compare ISTEP scores of entirely different years.

P.S. No matter how you put it, it is always your goal to improve test scores because test scores are tied to money from the state and federal government.

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

Chris

Good questions!

I will try to answer some of them on the blog for everyone this week. It would fill up the comments section to answer them thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

WMS should condense ISTEP to one week instead of dragging it into the next week. Would this be a possibility?