KAL director sees progress despite flat Stanford 9 results<BR>

KINGMAN – At first glance, Kingman Academy of Learning pupils do not appear to have done well during the spring administration of the Stanford 9 test.

The Miner tracked pupils in grades two through eight from 2003 and compared their scores this past year in grades three through nine for the reading, language and math subtests given.

Just four of seven classes improved in language and only two classes raised their scores in math and reading.

But KAL director Betty Rowe is not unhappy.

"The statewide scores were in the paper the other day and in all areas our kids did better except second and third grade reading, and language in sixth and seventh grades," Rowe said.

"We surpassed the state in every area but those four and that's wonderful for any school to do."

Stanford-9 is a norm-referenced test given nationwide to elementary and middle school children in grades 2 and above that focus on reading, language and math skills.

KAL paid for tests for its kindergarten and first-grade children to begin tracking their progress in those skills as early as possible.

The accompanying chart shows how KAL pupils fared on the 2004 test.

In order to determine progress made, the Miner tracks classes from year to year.

For example, how did fifth-graders in 2003 perform on the test as sixth-graders in 2004?

Scores are given as percentiles.

A 50th percentile score indicates children performed about average with their peers, while a score of 55 indicates children did better than 55 percent of other pupils in that subject area and grade level.

Language was the top-scoring subject for KAL pupils this past spring.

Third-graders rose 12 percentile points in their scores from the previous year, while seventh-graders jumped 10 points.

But language was troublesome for three classes.

Eighth-graders saw their scores dip 21 points, ninth graders lost 14 points and sixth-graders dropped 11 points.

"Seventh and eighth grades traditionally do not score well in language," Rowe said.

"The test gets harder every year and students don't seem to focus as much on it as they get into the upper grades."

KAL eighth- and ninth-graders also lost ground in math and reading.

Eight-graders slipped 15 points in math and four in reading, while ninth-graders fell 14 points in math and 11 points in reading.

But Rowe said she is not worried.

"I know they can read," she said.

"They're strong readers and are getting a good math foundation.

"Even though scores indicate they've fallen, they're strong in the basic skills.

As kids get older, they don't concentrate as much on testing and that's unfortunate because that's what will get them into college."

Fourth and fifth were the only grades showing improvement in math and reading.

Fourth-graders went up four points in math and 11 in reading.

Fifth-graders climbed six points in math and two in reading.

"We have made a genuine effort in our primary and intermediate schools to decipher past student tests and see where they are missing basic skills," Rowe said.

"In doing this we have changed our reading program some and the emphasis on math in order to have a stronger emphasis on language skills like writing and spelling so the kids improve their communications skills.

"We've done a marvelous job from sixth grade down and need to continue into the upper grades, which is where our emphasis will be this year.

Our scores soon will be good at every level."