Math scores rise in Kingman schools

The combined sixth-grade Stanford-9 test score for math in 2003 increased 13 percentile points for the Kingman Unified School District.

That was the loudest of many positive notes for assistant superintendent Betsy Parker as she assessed the results of annual spring testing.

"Math scores went up in sixth grade at every school and that was exciting," Parker said.

Test results were released last week by the Arizona Department of Education.

One negative Parker noted was a decrease in all three subjects by fifth-graders in 2003 from scores they posted in 2002 as fourth graders.

That class fell four points in reading, seven points in language and two points in math.

"Fourth to fifth grade is a big transition year and I'm not disappointed with a score of 55 (in math) as a district," Parker said.

"The subject material gets considerably more difficult (in fifth grade).

"If I saw a constant trend of that, I would worry about something such as the teaching or materials, but I don't see a trend there based on scores from 1998."

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

The percentile scores rank student performance in comparison with a "norming group" for each 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.

Here are some of the high and low points on a school-by-school basis:

Scores of Black Mountain School seventh-graders slipped across the board, 18 points in reading, 14 in language and 35 in math.

But the school also had several significant gains.

Fourth-graders went up 11 points in reading, third-graders climbed 16 points in language and sixth-graders jumped 14 points in math.

"One thing that will help scores at Black Mountain is the new connected math project we're starting this year," Parker said.

"It's a hands-on tie to everyday life, so students work on projects that expand their math skills beyond computation and teaches them to be more analytical thinkers."

One section of the new connected math will be offered to a sixth-grade class at every school and it will be fully incorporated into seventh and eighth grades.

All four classes tracked at Cerbat Elementary School lost ground in language.

However, three of four classes registered gains in reading and math.

Parker said Cerbat children will continue to improve in reading.

A 12-point drop by third-graders was just a "slip" that won't happen again because of a good reading program in place, she added.

Three of four classes at Hualapai Elementary School improved their math scores.

But three of four classes at the school dropped in language, led by a 10-point decline in fourth grade.

Hualapai fourth-graders were unchanged in reading from third grade scores.

But three other classes lost ground.

The scores were not typical for Hualapai and represented an off year, Parker said.

La Senita was a school of extremes in 2003.

Improvement was noted in language (by 22 points) by third graders and in math by third-graders (16 points), fourth-graders (18 points) and sixth-graders (11 points).

On the minus side, fifth-graders dropped 15 points in reading, language and 20 points in math.

"What I noted was the move from third to fourth grade was very positive," Parker said.

"We need to make sure we take from those fourth-grade teachers what was working."

Manzanita Elementary School pupils also showed major gains, especially in math where fourth-graders improved 12 points and sixth-graders 11 points.

Third-graders at Manzanita went up 16 points in language.

Sixth-graders at Palo Christi improved by five points in reading, six in language and 25 points in math.

In addition, seventh-graders registered gains of three to six points in all three subjects.

"That speaks well for the neighborhood school concept at Palo Christi," Parker said.

Mount Tipton School in Dolan Springs has been administered by the KUSD although still classified separately as the Chloride School District.

Some of the largest gains in the KUSD were made at Mount Tipton in 2003.

In reading, fourth-graders went up 19 points and sixth graders jumped 15 points.

In language, sixth-graders went up 13 points and seventh-graders improved 18 points.

In math, the sixth-grade class had the largest gain of all, 23 points.

"Huge strides were made at Mount Tipton and I credit their principal (Scott Cumberledge) and teachers," Parker said.

"Ask the teachers and they'll tell you going to a four-day week helped.

Attendance was better and they could focus on intense instruction."