The younger students at Kingman Academy of Learning ranked among the nation's best in the spring administration of the norm-referenced Terra Nova test.
Second-graders posted scores of 74 in language, 63 in reading and 79 in math. Scores are given as percentiles. The 79th percentile for math indicates only 21 percent of other second-graders in America surpassed KAOL children in that subject.
"We were pleasantly surprised at our second-grade results," said Susan Chan, KAOL district administrator.
"We stress reading, language and math in the first three grades, spending about 90 percent of each school day within those three areas so the scores are not unwarranted. They're well deserved."
The Terra Nova test is given only to second- and ninth-graders. Students in grades 3-8 receive a Terra Nova score based on a dual-purpose assessment of the Arizona's Instrument to Measure Standards test in which "embedded" questions are used to arrive at a score.
Intermediate level students at KAOL did exceptionally well in reading in two of three grade levels. Fourth-graders posted a 63 score and fifth-graders received a 61 mark. However, third-graders made just 48. That pattern followed in language. Third-graders scored 48, while fourth-graders got a 63 and fifth-graders, 55.
Third- and fifth-graders both made 51 in math, while fourth-graders got a 63 score. "Those scores are something I have questioned the state Department of Education about, and they're looking into it," Chan said. "There is quite a discrepancy in third grade between Terra Nova and AIMS scores for our students. Look at the scores across the board by grades and they're very good for AIMS and Terra Nova, except in third grade. That makes me wonder if other things were going on."
Here are percentile scores for grades 6-9: Grade 6 - 55 in language, 59 in reading, 63 in math; Grade 7 - 61 in language, 61 in reading, 53 in math; Grade 8 - 57 in language, 64 in reading, 66 in math; Grade 9 - 55 in language, 59 in reading, 59 in math.
"Students in our upper grade levels are making good progress on Terra Nova," Chan said. "They're consistently scoring well above the national average."
Chan was asked how important the Terra Nova test is in the entire educational scheme. "It's good to have both tests," she said. "AIMS looks at how students are progressing toward meeting a set of given criteria, AKA the standards. The norm-referenced test gives parents a look at how our students compare to the nation and I think it's an important comparison."