By Katherine Parker
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — An overview of spring student achievement results and Norman Public Schools was presented to the Norman Public Schools Board of Education at a regular board meeting Monday.
Dr. Shirley Simmons, assistant superintendent of Educational Services, and Beth Spears, director of staff development and student achievement, presented statistical data regarding reading, English, math and science, comparing NPS to 2012 scores and state averages.
In third- through eighth-grade reading scores, all grade levels scored above the state average with an increase in fourth grade from a 70 percent pass rate in 2012 to a 74 percent rate in 2013, as well as an increase in eighth grade by 1 percent from 2012 to 2013. English II and English III scores also were above state averages.
Simmons said this year, new fifth- and eighth-grade writing tests were in place, so there was no 2012 data to compare this year’s scores. However, both NPS fifth- and eighth-grade student averages scored above state averages.
NPS fifth-graders averaged 66 percent compared to the state average of 56 percent. NPS eighth-graders averaged 68 percent compared to the state average of 55 percent.
NPS math scores also were high for 2013, scoring above 90 percent in algebra I, geometry and algebra II.
The most troubling of all statistical information presented to the Board of Education was NPS average pass rates in science.
Compared to state averages, fifth- and eighth-grade science scores — as well as biology test scores — were all above state averages but not significantly in fifth-grade science or biology.
In fifth-grade science, NPS averaged 56 percent compared to the state average of 51 percent. In eighth-grade science, NPS averaged 72 percent compared to 53 percent. In biology, NPS averaged 57 percent compared to 54 percent.
Simmons said the science test was newer as well, so work in the district would need to be done to adjust to its challenging new dimensions.
Simmons said that this year’s science test included 30 percent of more difficult test questions, and the score to pass the exam was raised. These changes could account for why NPS averages were not as high as the district would like.
NPS ACT scores also were reported as above the state average in all subjects, including English, math, reading, science and composite.
In English, NPS students scored an average of 22.3 compared to the state average of 20.4. In math, NPS students scored an average of 22.3 compared to 20.1. In reading, students scored an average of 23.1 compared to 21.4. In science, students scored an average of 22.4 compared to 20.8. Lastly, in composite, students scored an average of 22.7 compared to 20.3.
To strive for continued academic achievement, Spears said the district will continue to focus on core academics and work with new NPS teachers to make sure they have additional training as well as continue the NPS site goal process.
Spears said the site goal process provides principals the opportunity to share their best practices and have collegial conversations, as well as for principals to share site initiatives and needs with district administration.
After presenting the achievement report, Simmons said whatever the accountability system used to measure school success, NPS would continue to work for students.
“Everything we do is geared toward the needs of our students,” Simmons said.
The Board of Education also approved the 2013-2014 amended budget presented by Brenda Burkett, business services, received an update about Norman Public Schools health services from Beth Kahn, NPS health coordinator, and recognized multiple Norman High and Norman North athletic award recipients.
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