BIG HORN — Principals from both sides of Sheridan County School District 1 presented test results from the 2018-19 school year, showing that most schools meet or exceed state averages, while a few areas remain “opportunities for growth.”
Overall for SCSD1, test scores rose well above the state average and increased from last school year. Third- through fifth-graders in spring Wyoming’s Test of Proficiency and Progress tested 71.6%, 60.5% and 75.6% proficient or above average in English/Language Arts testing. Over 70% of all students grades sixth through eighth tested proficient and above in ELA testing, with the SCSD1 sixth-graders rising well above the 2018 testing numbers, hitting 75.3% proficient and above from 49.3% in 2018.
In 2018, third-graders tested only 6% above the state average in math, but skyrocketed those numbers in 2019 from 57.7% in 2018 to 79.7% in 2019. Other grades showed steady upward growth in math, too.
Sixth-graders in math also shot up 19-percentage points for those testing proficient and above, while seventh-graders saw less test-takers reach the proficient and above mark in 2019, decreasing from 67.6% in 2018 to 54.4% in 2019. Ninth-graders jumped from 45.3% — 4% above the state average — to 62.8% in 2019 in math testing.
Science testing improved for fourth- and eighth-graders in 2019 but dropped slightly with 10th-graders from 52.3% to 48.8%.
Comparing Tongue River school percentages to Big Horn’s, most schools saw similar patterns of growth between 2018 and 2019 and mainly stayed above the state averages for proficient and above testers.
Tenth-graders in both schools showed the most decline in test scores compared to the other grades required to take WyTOPP tests annually.
Big Horn High School principal Al Sparkman told SCSD1 Board of Trustees Tuesday he recognized gaps exist between school jumps — from fifth to sixth grades and eighth to ninth grades. In addition, he asked trustees to picture running a race and the finish line, but any good runner knows she must use all of her momentum to effectively run through the finish line to end strong.
With that illustration, Sparkman relayed the message to trustees he wants to set up a plan at BHHS to track progress of students up to five years outside of graduation from the school. It is then, he believes, that the district knows its effectiveness in the kindergarten through 12th grade system.
Tongue River High School principal Colby Lynch had a different perspective for his high school students that showed in new programming for career testing. After showing test results under the quality that Lynch expected of the school in the American College Test, the school implemented ACT practice testing and a program to help students prepare for the test. The programming not only familiarizes students with the test format and typical content included each year, but teachers involved in presenting the program also talk about anxieties around taking the test, why students need to take the test and the benefits of achieving higher scores, which in Wyoming results in scholarship money through the Hathaway Scholarship.
All test results for SCSD1 are available in the Jan. 21 board packet, uploaded online at sheridan.k12.wy.us.