The Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township saw a slight bump in the number of students passing English and math on the state’s standardized test known as ILEARN this year but remains far behind the percentage of students deemed proficient on a statewide level.
Data from the Indiana Dept. of Education showed that just 15.3 percent of the district’s third- through eighth-grade students were found to be proficient in English and math this year. That reflects a 1 percentage point increase compared to 2021 results when 14.3 percent of students at MSD of Lawrence Township in those grade levels passed the state assessment subject areas.
Those figures, however, are in stark contrast to the passage rates seen this year on a statewide level, according to the IDOE. ILEARN results across the state indicate that 41.2 percent of students were deemed proficient in English/language arts, while 39.4 percent were considered to be proficient in math.
On a statewide level, the IDOE said that most grade levels and student populations increased their proficiency rates in English/language arts and math by 1 to 4 percentage points compared to 2021.
However, ILEARN scores for 2021 and 2022 at MSD of Lawrence Township are considerably lower in comparison to the overall number of third- to eighth-grade students deemed to be proficient in English/language arts and math before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The district had 26.8 percent of its third- to eighth-grade students pass English and math when the ILEARN test was administered in 2019, according to the IDOE. The test was not administered in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Troy Knoderer, chief academic officer for MSD of Lawrence Township, said while the district is pleased with the growth in scores this year compared to 2021, there is much room for growth.
Among the steps taken to improve test scores include employing 25 retired teachers to provide small-group tutoring during the school day and after school, while the district has partnerships with community groups to provide additional tutoring and mentoring, Knoderer said. Still, he stressed that it is important to keep state standardized test scores in perspective, noting that they are “one important measure of a students’ academic skills.”
“However, there are many other measures that students and parents should keep in mind in evaluating progress. Those measures include district-administered assessments,” Knoderer said.
He added that all MSD of Lawrence Township students in kindergarten through eighth-grade take what is known as the Fastbridge reading and math assessment multiple times throughout the school year.
“Because these assessments are administered more frequently, teachers are able to use the results to adjust instruction and provide much better insight into a student’s growth,” Knoderer said.