Young Marengo readers show improvement

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 27, 2005

LINDEN-Marengo County’s youngest students are showing steady improvement in their reading skills Marengo County School Superintendent Luke Hallmark reported Wednesday.

Hallmark said at the school board’s October meeting students have made leaps and bounds in their DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) scores. Hallmark said the systems scores are on the rise for most of the county’s classes. The program has been one the county schools have been hoping to make progress with and recently, they have done just that. Hallmark said overall, the system should be very proud of what their students had accomplished.

“All four of our schools have really shown improvement on the DIBELS test scores,” Hallmark said. “The biggest reason is because our teachers, through the summer training and the understanding this needed to be taught, got on board.”

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Hallmark said most of the teachers who classes had not seen a tremendous increase were new to the program and should show improvement once they become more familiar with the process.

Throughout the county’s four schools most of the numbers were impressive. For A.L. Johnson, the initial scores for their first grade class had only 40 percent at benchmark. Five weeks later 100 percent reached benchmark. The Johnson kindergarten held steady at 32 percent and looked to be on the path to improvement. For the Johnson second grade, 80 percent of the students reached benchmark and 62 percent for the third grade,

For John Essex at the kindergarten level, only 36 percent reached benchmark. Five weeks later 91 percent reached benchmark. Eighty six percent of first grade students reached benchmark and 75 percent of the second graders. Third grade saw another big improvement as their initial scores had them at 50 percent. Their most recent totals were 88 percent.

Marengo County High School had two kindergarten classes that faired very differently. The first classes scores dropped from 35 to 18 percent, however, the other class went from 50 to 56 percent. First grade scores rose from 38 to 52 percent and from 14 percent to 86 percent, which Hallmark called a tremendous increase. The second grade class went from 34 percent to 41 percent and the third grade went from 37 percent to 85 percent.

Sweet Waters kindergarten class was at 52 percent in August, but increased to 98 percent. The first grade rose from 84 percent to 96 percent and the second grade rose from 65 to 73. The third grade rose from 56 percent to 74 percent.

DIBELS are a set of standardized, individually administered measures of early literacy development. They are designed to be short (one minute) fluency measures used to regularly monitor the development of pre-reading and early reading skills.