New Assessment Tool Shows Whitefish Students Perform Above National Average

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A new assessment tool first implemented at Whitefish Schools this fall found that students performed above the national average compared to other students who took the same diagnostic test.

The i-Ready tool replaces the previously used assessment system called STAR, providing teachers and the district with data that should better align with state testing standards, according to program director Lisa Bloom.

Whitefish K-12 students in September completed the first set of i-Ready reading and math tests, and will repeat the assessment two more times throughout the school year.

“We feel like we’re in a really good place, it’s our base,” Bloom told the school board at a recent meeting. “We will resume this assessment in January and May, and we hope to see growth in each of these five investment levels.”

Twenty-four percent of Whitefish students have met or exceeded minimum requirements for their grade level standards while nationally only 14% of students are at the highest grade for their grade this fall. Nationally, 65% of K-12 students who took i-Ready assessments tested proficiency with standards learned in or above their previous grade level – students in Whitefish had 79% in these categories, with only 21% testing two or more scores below their current score, suggesting that intervention is needed.

In the i-Ready scoreboards, there are five color codes ranging from the red stripe, students testing three or more levels below their grade standards, through to the green stripe, students already at or above the standards of their current rating.

The bulk of Whitefish students tested in the yellow color range, which means students have not yet mastered grade level standards, but are ready to learn. Bloom says it’s a good place for students in the fall.

“Jaune says you don’t know the standards for whatever grade level you’re in yet, but that would make sense, wouldn’t it?” ” she said. “Because we don’t expect kids to know this standard until the end of the year. “

The test score data is divided into several categories that the district, administration, and teachers can use. District results are presented by school and also by grade level for reading and math. Then the results are divided into different areas of the two topics – for example, in reading, the areas include categories such as phonological awareness, vocabulary, comprehension and more.

Teachers can also access each student’s results, which helps guide intervention for late students or next steps in progression for those already testing outside of their grade level.

“All teachers have the ability to categorize and sort their students according to these areas, so that we can… customize our teaching with exactly what the students need,” Bloom said.

“i-Ready provides all kinds of next steps, for teachers it will explicitly state what they need to learn next and provide us with resources,” she added.

The results of the i-Ready assessment will give teachers a clear path forward in helping students, regardless of the level at which their assessment shows competence, the district notes.

Students will test again in January and May.


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