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County schools upbeat about ISTEP scores

Results of the 2017 ISTEP were released earlier this month by the Indiana Dept. of Education. In its assessment, the IDOE said numbers remained stable in grades 3 through 8 and numbers rose slightly for 10th graders. Local school corporations did well compared to state averages in the three categories of testing: math, English-language arts and the combined math and English-language arts section.
Grades 3 through 8 for the North Harrison Community School Corp. ranked 37th, South Harrison Community School Corp. 56th and Lanesville Community School Corp. 113th in the state.
North Harrison’s third, fifth and seventh grades were tops in the county in all three categories, South Harrison’s eighth grade led two of three categories and Lanesville’s fourth grade lead two of three categories within the county.
Steve Morris, superintendent at Lanesville, said, ‘On many grade levels, we showed growth with students improving their score from one year to the next.’
‘All we can do is compare ourselves to state averages and see where everyone else is,’ Dr. Lance Richards, superintendent at North Harrison, said.
The ISTEP will be taken for the last time in spring then give way to the ILEARN test for 2019. Education professionals throughout the state will begin collaborating to develop the test this month.
North Harrison Elementary School principal Lisa Jones spoke about the take away from ISTEP and the switch to ILEARN.
‘We want our students to be as successful as possible,’ she said, ‘and we believe we can make some changes that will help us transition well to ILEARN for the 2018-19 school year.’
Morgan Elementary saw increased numbers in all three categories. English-language arts scores improved from 79.4 percent to 80.7 percent, math 78.5 percent to 82.3 percent and English-language arts and math combined 72.5 percent to 74.8 percent.
Principal Megan Reynolds says she believes it’s ‘a testimony to North Harrison’s exceptional teachers and support staff. They are all willing to take the extra steps to make a difference in every child’s education.’
ISTEP scores for 10th-grade students were somewhat different. The numbers for English-language arts were well above the state average of 60.7 percent for all three corporations. Lanesville was 12 points above (71.7 percent) while South Harrison (70.8 percent) and North Harrison (70.1 percent) were about 10 points higher.
Students, both statewide and locally, didn’t score as well in math.
North Harrison came in at 46.7 percent, South Harrison 43.1 percent and Lanesville 27.6 percent. The state average was 36.9 percent, which meant more than half the 10th-grade students in the state did not pass the math portion of the test.
‘With all the repeated changes in testing over the past several years, I doubt the intention of the state was to create a system where less than 40 percent of 10th graders passed an ISTEP math test statewide,’ Morris said.
Even with results being labeled as low, holding steady or slightly better, the thoughts among teachers and administrators are positive.
‘We have much to be proud of at South Harrison and the potential to grow even more in the future,’ Dr. Mark Eastridge, superintendent at South Harrison, said.
Richards added, ‘I am extremely proud to work in this corporation. I know this is a great place for kids.’