The North Bend Eagle


 

Hard work pays off with improved NeSA scores

by Mary Le Arneal
Published 6/6/06

Outstanding. Tremendous. Super happy. Excited.

These were all words used by superintendent Dan Endorf and principals Brenda Petersen and Caryn Ziettlow as they described their feelings when seeing the results of the Nebraska State Assessment (NeSA) tests from last year’s third through eighth and 11th grade classes.

NeSANBC students average score on the NeSA test was 86.85 percent, the highest of any East Husker Conference school. It is also well above the state average of 71.8.

NeSA tests measure the Nebraska state standards and determine Nebraska student proficiency on those standards. Students were tested in areas of reading, mathematics, science and/or writing in the winter and spring of 2013.

These tests are a requirement of the “No Child Left Behind” federal program to show adequate yearly progress.

“Last year’s scores were fine,” Endorf said. “After a tremedous amount of work by staff, principals, and students, the scores this year were outstanding. Everyone working together made it happen.”

The scores show the percent of student who meets or exceeds state standards in a specific area.

Elementary principal Ziettlow said the addition of a part time teacher who worked with a specific subcategory of students helped the overall score.

“The students worked hard, tried very hard on each test and the scores show it,” Ziettlow said.

There were some subcatagories of students who did not pass last year, and if they had continued to be low a second year Ziettlow said there would have been ramifications. She said one of these subcategories of students did pass this year and one showed change and growth even though they did not pass.

“Classroom teachers had to cut back on some things to concentrate on taking (NeSA) test,” Ziettlow said.

At NBE an incentive program was instituted with students making the standards or at least showing improvements being rewarded at the end of the year with a movie outing.

Endorf said that the new math text book Expressions, which emphasises word problems, helped increase the math scores.

At the high school, Petersen said that the teachers have put more emphasis on teaching for the test.

“They gave the students incentives to do well on the test,” Petersen said. “If they passed in a subject area some teachers allowed the students to skip the final or use the NeSA score as their grade. Many took the final anyway to try to improve their score. ”

In the science area students not taking a science class were pulled out of other classes for mini-sessions to refresh lessons learned in science classes their freshman and sophomore years to help them with the testing. In the reading area, all the juniors at NBC have the same English teacher and she made sure they were prepared for the test, with the class scoring a 100 in reading and 88 in writing.

“We are super happy,” Petersen said. “They’ve really set the bar high for next year.”

The NeSA scores are what the public sees. Once all the testing and evaluation is done, schools across the state are rated from 1 to 250 on their NeSA scores.
In November the Nebraska Department of Education will release the State of the Schools report. It is an annual report that provides information and data about Nebraska public schools and student performance.

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