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Test scores improve, elementary school hopeful

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Carson City’s student test scores are up. But the question remains: Are they adequate?

Under the federal No Child Left Behind guidelines, schools must prove “adequate yearly progress” to remain free of sanctions.

And nowhere are the stakes higher than at Mark Twain Elementary School. Students there showed little progress on standardized tests in the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 school years, throwing them into “needs improvement” status.

They made adequate yearly progress last year and this year’s results may help them shed the “needs improvement” label.

“We’re hopeful because our test scores are considerably higher than they have been in the past,” said Principal Mary Garey. “We’ve been working really hard to raise our achievement.”

The No Child Left Behind mandate applies to low-income schools receiving federal Title I funds. Schools scoring poorly on standardized tests two years in a row fall into “needs improvement.” Students must receive adequate scores in two successive years to pull out of it.

Scores from the statewide tests will be combined with districtwide tests, which will be taken in May, to determine adequate progress.

Empire Elementary School administrators are anxiously awaiting that determination.

Empire students fell behind last year and will fall into “needs improvement” status this year if scores don’t make the grade.

Overall, students in Carson City scored well above the state average in every category.

“In comparing ourselves with the state, we are very pleased,” said Mike Watty, associate superintendent of education. “Our students did well.”

Regardless of labels, Garey said she is pleased with her students’ performance.

“The bottom line is kids are learning and that’s where we want to be,” she said.

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Fourth-grade results on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills

Reading Language Math Science

State 51 55 53 58

District 61 62 61 67

Seventh-grade results

Reading Language Math Science

State 42 44 44 49

District 44 44 46 55

Tenth-grade results

Reading Language Math Science

State 46 47 45 49

District 56 50 56 60