AKRON – ISTEP scores at Tippecanoe Valley schools are improving and the high school soccer club’s first match is Saturday, the school board heard Monday evening.
Assistant Superintendent Blaine Conley presented Valley’s ISTEP scores to the board. He said the 2014 test was the last time students will take ISTEP “as we know it” because the state has come up with a new assessment for the spring. The standards have changed in regard to what students will be tested on.
To publicize the new standards, the Indiana Department of Education will have 10 public meetings in the fall. Conley said the closest ones are at Ivy Tech Community College, Logansport, Sept. 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Notre Dame, Sept. 20, 1 to 5 p.m.
Students in third through eighth grade take ISTEP. For his presentation, Conley gave the board statistics from 2009 to 2014.
In third-grade testing this year, Conley said some good growth has occurred. In English/language arts, 87.2 percent passed; 86.5 percent passed in math; and 80.1 percent passed both. All percentages were higher than the state average.
Fourth-grade did a little below the state average, but still had healthy gains, he said. Percentages were 86.1 passed for English/language arts, 80.6 in math and 75 percent both.
Fifth grade also did higher than the state average at 87.1 percent passing English/language arts, 94.3 percent math and 85.7 percent in both.
Chrissy Mills, Akron principal, said the fifth-graders were the first to go through full-day kindergarten and all students participated in Valley’s Swoop program. “We feel it has made a difference,” she said.
Percent passing for sixth-graders in English/language arts, math and both were 75.8, 84.1 and 73.5 percent respectively. Conley said while those were lower than the state average, there were some good gains made.
Seventh-grade percentages passing were 73.2, 71.5 and 65.4 in English/language arts, math and both respectively; while eighth-grade percentages were 71, 63.2 and 56.8.
Fourth- and sixth-graders also took science. The percent passing for fourth-graders increased from 73.6 in 2013 to 76.4 in 2014. In sixth grade, the percent passing went up from 59.3 in 2013 to 65.2 in 2014.
Fifth and seventh grade also took social studies. Fifth-grade percentage increased from 56.5 in 2013 to 66.4 in 2014. Seventh grade went from 60.4 in 2013 to 66.2 in 2014.
As a corporation, Conley said 79.9 percent passed English/language arts, 79.5 percent passed math and 72.4 percent passed both. Conley said Valley was showing steady growth over time.
Even though Valley’s free/reduced lunch student population – whose test scores at Valley are typically lower than others – has grown from 44.4 percent in 2009 to 57.6 percent in 2014, Conley said the school corporation is still “closing the gaps” in achievement.
“I like seeing our numbers improve. We can always get better, but I like to see improvement,” Board President Bryan Murphy said.
In another matter, Tippecanoe Valley High School club soccer coach Mark Gordon said he has 18 kids solidly interested in the club, with a couple more who also expressing some interest. Uniforms have been ordered and he is assigning referees.
Gordon has 14 matches scheduled, including two at Bremen. There are six home matches and eight away games.
The team is co-ed with four consistent girls and two others.
The team’s booster club is planning some fundraisers, including bake sales.
Valley’s club soccer team has their first game Saturday against Whitko varsity at 1 p.m. It’s the first of two varsity games for Valley, with the other one against Oregon-Davis.
As for the soccer field, Gordon said he’s been working pretty hard with the maintenance department on it. It has bleachers, goals and benches but is looking for one more bench for referees.