Yukon students top state test score average

Students in the Yukon School District fared better than their counterparts in statewide testing, according to results released this week by the school district’s administration.

The district has kept a tight lid on the results since the preliminary data was released in October, preferring to provide the information to the public and the school board at the same time.

However, the results appear to be favorable for the district, even though they are well below results from previous years.

According to the results, which are part of a “total reset,” Yukon students scored well above the state average in every category with the exception of 10th-grade science.

Desarae Witmer, Yukon’s executive director of curriculum, said 13 percent of Yukon’s students who took the test scored as being at or above proficient. The state average was 19 percent.

Witmer said the results were disappointing, but not surprising. Most Yukon students take science or biology during their freshman year. The test is only given to sophomores who are currently taking the class.

“We are pleased, but we are not satisfied,” said Witmer.

Superintendent Dr. Jason Simeroth said the district is in a good spot.

All of the schools across the district fared well, Witmer said.

Over all, third-grade students scored in the 58 percent range, meaning 58 percent of the students scored as being proficient in English. That is well above the 39 percent statewide average.

Breaking down the results further, all categories of third-grade students scored above state average. That includes categories such as English Learners, where 16 percent scored proficient in English. The state average was 12 percent.

Forty-four percent of Hispanic students scored proficient in Yukon. The state average was 24 percent.

Witmer said there is no way to compare this year’s scores with those from previous years.

The change was prompted because scores received during the 2015 testing season, which showed a high number of students at or above proficient were questioned after random testing showed significantly fewer students were proficient.

An example was fourth-grade math, where 72 percent of Oklahoma students were shown to be proficient under the previous method. However, when the random National Assessment of Education Progress test was administered, only 37 percent of students were shown to be proficient.

The 2016-17 results showed that 41 percent of state fourth-graders were proficient in math. In Yukon, that number was 63 percent proficient and only 9 percent were unsatisfactory.

State schools Superintendent Joy Hofmeister called this year’s results a “total reset.”

“Over the past three years, Oklahoma has undertaken transformational work needed to ensure all of our students are prepared for the next steps after high school graduation. We have eliminated a culture of over-testing that robbed classrooms of valuable instructional time and failed to lead to academic gain. In a teacher-driven process, we developed academic standards and assessments that accurately reflect the skills and knowledge our kids will need for college or the workforce of the future,” Hofmeister said.

Witmer agreed.

“There is not really anyway to compare this year with previous years, but when you compare Yukon schools to the state average, we did exceptionally well,” she said.

TEST SCORES

Among the test scores, all five Yukon elementary schools scored well above the state average for third-grade English.

At the fourth-grade level, the state average was 37, and Yukon scored an average of 48 percent.

At the fifth-grade level for English, 40 percent of students statewide score proficient. In Yukon, that number was 55 percent;

Sixth-grade English was among the areas where Yukon was just above the state average, with 43 percent of students scoring proficient. Statewide, that number was 40 percent.

Forty-five percent of Yukon students in the seventh grade scored proficient, while 42 percent of eighth-grade students did. Both were well above the state average of 34 percent in seventh-grade and 35 percent in eighth-grade.

At the high school level, 44 percent of Yukon’s 10th-grade students were at or above proficient. The statewide average was 36 percent.

In math, Yukon’s third-graders scored more than 20 points higher than the state average. Sixty-five percent were proficient compared to 44 percent statewide.

Similar numbers were seen in fourth and sixth grades.

In the fourth grade, 63 percent of Yukon students were scored as proficient. Statewide, only 41 percent were.

In the fifth-grade, 35 percent statewide were proficient, while in Yukon 61 percent were proficient.

Science tests were administered to students in the fifth, eighth and 10th grades.

Only the 10th grades students scored below the state average. Witmer said most of Yukon’s students take biology classes in ninth grade, when the statewide test is not administered.

“There is a lot of room for us to grow,” she said.

“Overall, we’re happy with what we have. Overall, we are happy to get a baseline. It shows us where we need to focus our attention and were we need to celebrate our successes and replicate our best practices. It allows us to start setting goals to grow our kids,” Witmer said.

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