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Title I assessments given at schools

An informational Title I meeting was held at Westside Elementary School on Tuesday to discuss the school’s comprehensive needs assessment for the 2009-10 school year. A similar meeting was held last week at U.S. Jones Elementary School, which is also a Title I school.

A Title I school usually has about 40 percent or more of its students that come from families that qualify as low-income families. Schools receiving Title I status — like Westside or U.S. Jones elementary schools — are regulated by federal legislation, including the No Child Left Behind Act.

Part of the assessment included results of several tests taken recently. At Westside, the passing grade was 80 percent, rather than the 70 percent used at other schools.

This year’s kindergarten class fared well. The best result came from the Math/Scott test, where the goal was 80 percent, but the class scored 98 percent. The goal for its DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) test was 95 percent, and the class scored 97 percent. Its goal for the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test was 60 percent, and the class scored 59 percent. The goal for the Reading/Harcourt test was 90 percent, and the class scored 92 percent.

The first grade also did well on the tests. For the Reading/Harcourt test, the goal was 86 percent, and the class scored 97 percent, while in the Math/Scott test, the goal was 80 percent, with 87 percent passing the test.

In reading, the first-graders’ goal for the phoneme segmentation fluency test was 98 percent, and 99 percent passed, while the class met the goal of 90 percent in the nonsense words fluency. In word usage fluency, the goal was the national average of 50 percent, with 57.9 percent of the class passing, and in oral reading fluency, the class met the goal of 81 percent.

The second grade did well in some areas and struggled in others. In accuracy, 93 percent of the class passed. The goal for the oral reading fluency test was 80 percent, with 74 percent of the class passing. In nonsense words fluency, 82 percent passed.

In Reading/Harcourt, the writing goal was 85 percent, and 90 percent passed. In reading the goal was 75 percent and 73 percent passed. In oral reading, the goal was 50 percent, with 43 percent passing, and in writing, the goal was 55 percent, but only 37 percent passed. In the Math/Scott test, the goal was 80 percent, but only 47 percent passed.

“Across the state of Alabama, every public school has trouble after mid-year (in second grade),” said WES principal Connie Brown. “We get to a point from the beginning of the year to mid-year where we reach the benchmark, but every school in Alabama has trouble holding them there and moving them. It’s a common problem that our learning community works with and our reading coaches work with.

“We will be addressing the math in the second grade in our school improvement plan for next year. The score may have something to do with the way the test was administrated. It may have something to do with students clocking out last week (when the test was given), especially after the awards program was over. Or, it may be that we have a lot of work to do, so this will be a main focus for us in our continuous improvement plan.”