Just as the 300,000 schoolchildren around the Gem State prepare to return to class from their summer vacations, the Idaho Department of Education has released the results of two standardized tests from the previous school year.
The Idaho Reading Indicator is given to students in kindergarten through third grade to measure reading and pre-reading skills. Students take the evaluation in the fall and again in the spring. Statewide, 69.7% of students in kindergarten through third grade were reading at grade level. The final result was slightly lower than preliminary data released in July. Overall, scores rose from fall to spring, as expected.
Scores rose as students aged: 63.1% of kindergartners statewide scored at grade level. By first grade, that had risen to 66.7%. The indicator showed 75.3% of second-graders were reading at grade level, the highest among the four grades. The average third-grade score was 73.2%.
The Nez Perce District had the top overall score. Eighty-seven percent of its students were reading at grade level. Among the top-scoring individual schools: North Idaho STEM Charter Academy, where more than 90% of students in kindergarten through third grade were reading at grade level.
Education officials said the indicator, which has been redesigned, was so different that the most recent scores could not be compared with previous years. Earlier versions of the indicator took only reading speed into account; the new test measures several other areas of performance.
The Idaho Standard Achievement Test is an online examination administered statewide each spring to students in elementary, junior high and high school. Itís divided into three sections, English, math and science. Science had the top score: 58.9% of students were ranked proficient or advanced. English was the studentsí second-best subject last year, the test found, with 55% scoring proficient or advanced. The laggard was math: Statewide, fewer than half made the cut: Only 44.4% scored proficient or advanced.
Coeur díAlene students surpassed the state averages: 61.6% of local students were rated proficient or advanced; 50.3% of students achieved that level of performance in math, and 58.9% of students were proficient or better in science. The results were the second-best statewide among Idahoís 10 largest districts. Only West Ada fared better, with 68% achieving proficiency in English, 58.9% in math and 73.3% in science.