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Nye students below state averages in test scores

End-of-year summative 2016 test grades show students in Nye County are behind statewide averages.

Tests taken by students in grades 3 through 8 at the end of the 2015-16 school year showed that just 26 percent met or exceeded achievement standards in math, while in English language arts, 34 percent of those students met or exceeded academic standards, the tests showed.

The results were broken down into four numbered achievement categories. The top category, Level 4, meant the student exceeded the achievement standard. Level 3 represented students who met the achievement standards, which may require further development.

The two below-academic-standard groups were Level 2, which means the student nearly met the achievement standards and may require further development to be successful in future coursework. Then Level 1, who were students who did not meet achievement levels and need substantial improvement for success in future coursework.

Board president Tracie Ward said that she believes the tests are aimed at those who had better access to technology.

“It’s really geared toward …the wealthy ones who are very familiar with computer use,” Ward said. “Statistically speaking, students that come from poverty, which we described as 51 percent of the students, and way more in Nye County.”

Evangelyn Visser, associate superintendent, explained that the way second graders are being given tests will help scores in the English language section rise as they move on to the third grade and higher. The students are being asked to read passages on their own before answering questions, as opposed to the old way of the student being read the passage and then they would answer with their own account of the story.

“I think that we’re well positioned with our new reading series to provide those skills,” Visser said. “We do need to do a better job for all of our students, like our children in poverty, promoting and providing a really strong program in language development.”

Also, the introduction of Kagan Structure, a learning tool that is designed to increase student engagement and cooperation, is something that Visser feels will pay dividends in future test scores.

“It really works in giving kids content and then having them talk to their peers about that content, which is also a better way to develop that,” she said.

Superintendent Dale Norton explained that he believes the Kagan training is great for the elementary school-aged students, but more needs to be done for students in higher grade levels.

“We feel that we’re doing a pretty good job of that at the elementary level, but we need to address it more at the middle school and secondary level,” Norton said.

To further Kagan strategies, Norton is looking for help from Round Mountain Gold to facilitate in bringing the learning tool to schools in kindergarten through grade 12, who don’t qualify for Title 1 funding in Tonopah, Gabbs and Round Mountain areas of the county.

Further breaking down the test scores, math saw just eight percent of students achieve Level 4, while 18 percent attained Level 3. On the not-meeting-standards side, 33 percent were deemed Level 2, and 41 percent were in Level 1.

English saw a nine-percent score in Level 4, then 26 percent in Level 3, followed by 32 percent in Level 2 and 33 percent in Level 1.

The county’s numbers are below the state averages of who is deemed to be at or above achievement standards at 34 percent in math and 48 percent in English.

Contact reporter Mick Akers at makers@pvtimes.com.

Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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