Norm Heikens, IBJ reporter, opens up his piece with:
Some unsung local school districts are better than the most glamorous districts at improving their students’ academic performance, an IBJ analysis of new figures from the Indiana Department of Education suggests.Heikens goes into good detail about the success, as measured in ISTEP score improvement in Warren Township and IPS, as well as looking at Washington Township schools as a high achieving district with lower levels of improvement in scores.
Warren Township outpaces Carmel-Clay.
Franklin Township outshines Hamilton Southeastern.
Indianapolis Public Schools upstages Zionsville.
To be clear, students in the less affluent districts do not score higher on tests than their counterparts in the prestigious districts. And not even the most enthusiastic supporters of the new “growth model” way of measuring students and schools are prepared to say, for instance, that Warren is necessarily a better district than Carmel.
But the 2006-2008 figures, made available to schools in January and the public a few weeks later, show that some districts facing overwhelming odds in the form of poverty and absentee parents are arguably among the best at getting the most from their students.
This analysis is complex, grouping children by ISTEP scores with other children who obtained the same score throughout the state. They then measured the improvement in test scores of those children as compared with their peers. The analysis pulled together the improvement in ISTEP scores of all children within any school district - compared with how each child's peers fared in other districts throughout the state. So, bottom line, this analysis is presented in a clear fashion, but the analysis underpinning it, is complex and reflects more than the change in average test scores district to district. It is an attempt to hold districts accountable for the advancement of student learning as compared to student learning throughout the state, child by child.
The school districts are categorized by the State Department of Education, as High Achieving or Low Achieving, according to the % of students passing ISTEP. They are also categorized as High Growth or Low Growth, according to the improvement in the test scores over the 2006-2008 time frame, using this child by child improvement analysis. While the IBJ lists all school districts in the 8-county region, below I just pulled out the Marion County school district information. But, do look at the map for a broader perspective. The 8-county rank is based on the ISTEP score improvement among the 44 school districts in the region.
|District (8-county rank) MATH||state rating||2008 % passing||change from 2006(% points)|
|MSD Warren Tnsp (1)||HG/HA||57||+16|
|Franklin Tnsp Comm. (2)||HG/HA||60||+14|
|Town of Speedway (3)||HG/HA||57||+11|
|MSD Perry Tnsp (6)||HG/HA||61||+8|
|MSD Wayne Tnsp (10)||HG/LA||50||+7|
|MSD Decatur Tnsp (18)||LG/LA||45||+4|
|MSD Pike Tnsp (26)||LG/LA||46||0|
|Beech Grove (28)||LG/HA||49||-1|
|MSD Lawrence Tnsp (32)||LG/LA||48||-1|
|MSD Washington Tnsp (33)||LG/HA||46||-2|
|District (8-county rank) ENGLISH||state rating||2008 % passing||change from 2006|
|MSD Warren Tnsp (4)||HG/LA||50||+7|
|Franklin Tnsp Comm. (6)||HG/HA||58||+6|
|MSD Wayne Tnsp (13)||LG/LA||47||+4|
|MSD Perry Tnsp (19)||HG/HA||54||+2|
|MSD Pike Tnsp (20)||LG/LA||49||+2|
|MSD Washington Tnsp (27)||LG/HA||49||-1|
|MSD Lawrence Tnsp (30)||LG/LA||49||-2|
|MSD Decatur Tnsp (39)||LG/LA||41||-5|
|Town of Speedway (42)||LG/HA||48||-6|
|Beech Grove (43)||LG/HA||47||-8|
As the ISTEP data for 2009 and 2010 come out, the DOE will plug those numbers into this student achievement growth model. This is and will continue to be a very interesting approach to analyzing how well school districts are doing at improving the education of their students.