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Enrollment up in District 38; assessment better as well

Sep 17, 2017 By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer

Enrollment is up at Arapahoe schools.

As of Sept. 7, the district counted 452 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students.

At the end of the 2016-2017 school year in May, the district had reported 415 students.

The increase is favorable news, superintendent Ken Crowson said, as Arapahoe continues to eye the 500-student mark that would allow a petition for a public high school to replace the charter high school.

PAWS

Crowson also spoke positively about the latest Proficiency Assessment for Wyoming Students test scores, despite the fact that the majority of Arapahoe students in all grade levels and subjects were at below or basic proficiency levels.

Results showed 93 percent of third graders are below or basic in math, while 91 percent are below or basic in reading.

Ninety-four percent of fourth graders are below or basic in math, 81 percent are below or basic in reading, and 92 percent are below or basic in science. Seventy-eight percent of fifth graders are below or basic in math, and 80 percent are below or basic in reading. In the sixth grade, 91 percent of students are below or basic in math, and 77 percent are below or basic in reading.

In the seventh grade, 95 percent re below or basic in math, and 83 percent are below or basic in reading. And in the eighth grade, 95 percent are below or basic in math, 85 percent are below or basic in reading and 95 percent are below or basic in science.

But the Wyoming Department of Education's overall growth and achievement report showed that fourth- and fifth-grade students improved, from 15 percent proficiencyin the 2014-2015 school year to almost 22 percent in 2016-2017.

Percentages also slightly increased for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.

"We have certain grade levels that certainly show more growth than others," Crowson said. "I think that's going to be normal throughout the course of time... You're not measuring the same kid at the same level year after year."

The district is headed in the right direction, he added.

"We're showing improvements," he said.

The most recent PAWS results will be useful when administrators analyze the data in more detail and try to determine why students scored the way they did, Crowson said.

"We're slowly moving upward," he said. "Thank goodness we're not at the bottom."

WY-TOPP

Last school year was the final year for PAWS in the state, however, and a new assessment-- the Wyoming Test of Proficiency and Progress (WY-TOPP) -- is set to take over this year.

Crowson said students did well with a recent WY-TOPP practice run.

The new state assessment is all digital and provides different types of answer formats, not just multiple choice questions.

"It's a totally different format than what our students are used to, but it's similar to our Measures of Academic Progress testing," Crowson said.

The district is preparing by making sure all classrooms will have the computers needed for each student to take the test, as Crowson said some classes have grown since the previous year.

Arapahoe will also make sure its bandwidth connection remains strong when several students are testing at the same time.

Crowson reaffirmed that test results alone shouldn't be the only indicator of how well a district is doing or how smart students are. Still, he hopes for longevity with this new assessment.

"It's going to be interesting to see what they do with this particular test, but I'm going into it with a positive outlook," he said.

"No matter what test, our students have to demonstrate what they know, and we're going to do that at the best of our ability."

Interim fall WY-TOPP testing will take place Oct. 23 to Nov. 17 for grades third through 10th in reading, third through 10th in math, and fourth, eighth and 10th for science.

The interim winter testing dates will be Jan. 16 to Feb. 9 for first through 10th-graders in reading, grades one through 10 in math, and fourth, eighth and 10th in science.

In the spring, students in grades kindergarten through second grade will test in reading, and first and second graders will test in math.

WDE is exploring the option for a math interim at the kindergarten level.

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2017-10-17

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