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Charter school gets mixed Stanford-9 results

Some people may regard math as the toughest of the three subject areas for pupils tested each year.

But scores from the spring Stanford-9 test for Kingman Academy of Learning suggest more attention is needed in reading and language.

The accompanying graph shows scores for pupils in grades two through nine last school year as reported by the Arizona Department of Education.

KAL pupils in the fifth, sixth and seventh grades all had percentile scores of 70 or higher in math.

Pupils in fourth and eighth grades were close behind at 68.

"Fifth, sixth and seventh are our strong grades and showed a lot of improvement last year," KAL owner/administrator Betty Rowe said.

"I'd like to see similar improvement in all our grades."

Stanford-9 is a national test of reading, math and language.

The percentile scores rank student performance in comparison with a "norming group" for that grade and subject area.

A score of 50 puts a school at the national average.

Tracking the same student group helps educators determine, for example, whether fourth-graders from 2002 increased their test scores as fifth-graders in 2003.

KAL fifth-graders scored 71 in math this past spring, the same as 2002 when they were fourth-graders.

Although the score was unchanged, the 70-percentile rank still is a noteworthy achievement, Rowe said.

In similar fashion, seventh-graders matched the 76 score in math they had gotten as sixth-graders in 2002.

Sixth-graders scored 70 in 2003 after posting 47 as fifth-graders in 2002, a jump of 23 points.

Fourth-grade pupils also improved greatly in math, going from 52 in 2002 as third-graders to 68 last school year.

Reading and language had similar patterns emerge in that three grades showed improvement while four grades slipped in test scores.

In reading, the biggest gain was registered by sixth-graders.

After scoring 47 as fifth-graders in 2002 that group climbed nine points to 56 in 2003.

The biggest decline in reading scores came among ninth-graders.

Those students scored 33 in 2003, down 16 points from the 49 they got as eighth-graders in 2002.

A similar drop occurred in language.

Ninth-graders in 2003 scored 34, down 11 points from the 45 scored as eighth-graders in 2002.

But KAL seventh-graders made significant language strides.

They went from 47 as sixth-graders in 2002 to 64 in 2003, a gain of 17 points.

Eighth- and ninth-graders in 2003 lost ground in all three subject areas from the previous year.

Sixth-graders in 2003 improved in all areas.

"The last two years our eighth grade scores have fallen and I have no explanation for it," Rowe said.

"In ninth grade this past year 50 percent of the kids were new pickups and I think that had a great bearing on scores there."

Rowe said she was pleased overall with math and reading scores.

"I think every district struggles a little bit with language," she said.

"I don't know if that's due to the way that test is devised or because it's a harder concept for elementary aged kids to develop."