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Test scores show Idaho students have some work to do: GHS principal says tests are a guide, not final word

Grangeville Elementary Middle School students work on coding in the computer lab.

Credit: Free Press archive
Grangeville Elementary Middle School students work on coding in the computer lab.

Idaho Standardized Achievement Tests show Idaho students may have some work to do to catch up to standards. However, looks can be deceiving, according to Grangeville High School Principal Steve Higgins.

“The past few years with the state testing has been pretty frustrating,” Higgins said at the October board meeting of Mountain View School District. “The tests have changed, the grades that take them have been changed and we have not been able to have consistent data.”

Idaho State Superintendent of Schools Sherri Ybarra announced Oct. 30 the final statewide mathematics and English language arts (ELA) and literacy assessment percentages, as well as individual district and school results, are available through the State Report Card (

Prior to the release of the State Report Card, local school districts are provided the opportunity to appeal individual assessment results—a successful appeal would remove individual results from the overall participation rate, be it for a significant medical emergency, invalid unique education identifier (EDUID), or being a first-year Limited English Proficiency (LEP) student.

Higgins also explained with the confused testing schedules, students have not always been quizzed at the proper times.

State waives requirements for class of 2018; makes testing optional for ninth graders

The State Board of Education voted Oct. 21 to waive two requirements regarding the Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT). The first waiver removes the requirement the graduating class of 2018 score proficient or advanced on the ISAT to be eligible for high school graduation. The second waiver removes the requirement that the ISAT be administered to ninth grade students during the 2015-16 school year, making it optional for school districts to administer the test.

Both waivers were proposed by Sherri Ybarra, Idaho State Superintendent of Public Instruction and member of the Idaho State Board of Education.

Prior to this vote, Idaho high school students were supposed to score proficient or advanced on the 10th grade version of the ISAT. The class of 2018 is scheduled to take the test in the spring. Students scoring below proficient would be allowed to retake the test or complete alternate requirements to prove they have mastered Idaho’s math and English standards for high school graduates.

“For example, we have some sophomore math students tested on concepts they are not getting until they are juniors, and so on,” he said. “Hopefully the state has figured out some of these bumps along the way and all we can do is our best to educate our kids, just like we have always done.”

Higgins said although he will use test scores as a guide to see where they need to improve, he wasn’t planning “to get really excited about scores right now.”

Percentage scores for entire student bodies as well as individual tested grades are available on-line and are listed in the categories of advanced, proficient, basic and below basic

Locally, this is how students fared (take into consideration not all grades are tested or other variances may skew scores may not be noted. For categories not listed, no scores were listed online):

Mountain View School District 244

•Clearwater Valley Junior Senior High School (all students who were tested, grades 6-12): math, 36.4 percent basic and 44.2 percent below basic; in science, 30.9 percent advanced, 24.7 percent proficient, 18.5 percent basic and 25.9 percent below basic; and English Language Arts (ELA), 10.9 percent advanced, 24 percent proficient, 37.2 percent basic and 27.9 percent below basic.

•Grangeville High School (grades 9-12): math, 32.7 percent proficient and 32.7 percent basic; science, 34.2 percent advanced, 40.8 percent proficient; ELA, 53.1 percent proficient.

•Clearwater Valley Elementary School (grades 3-5): math, 39.1 percent basic and 28.7 percent below basic; science, 54.5 percent proficient; ELA, 13.6 percent advanced, 29.5 percent proficient, 33 percent basic and 23.9 percent below basic.

•Grangeville Elementary Middle School (grades 3-8): math, 11.1 percent advanced, 26 percent proficient, 34.1 percent basic and 28.8 percent below basic; science, 22.4 percent advanced, 29.9 percent proficient, 33.6 percent basic and 14 percent below basic; ELA, 11.4 percent advanced, 30.9 percent proficient, 36.1 percent basic and 21.6 percent below basic.

•Elk City School: no results listed due to size of school. “These scores are masked because of state law or statistical irrelevance,” explained MVSD 244 director of curriculum Cody Weddle. “We only had five students from Elk City who participated last year in the test. The law requires that you have at least 10 in a group before publishing the results.”

Salmon River Joint School District 243

•Salmon River High School (grades 7-12): math, 40 percent basic in math; science, no results; ELA, 40 percent proficient.

•Riggins Elementary School (grades 3-6): math, 42.3 percent proficient; science, no results; ELA, no results.

Cottonwood Joint School District 242

•Prairie Junior Senior High School (grades 7-12): math, 30.8 percent proficient, 45.1 percent basic; science, 53.6 percent advanced, 26.8 percent proficient; ELA, 50.5 percent proficient, 29.7 percent basic.

•Prairie Elementary School (grades 3-5): math, 19.2 percent advanced, 26 percent proficient, 35.6 percent basic and 19.2 percent below basic; science, 63.3 percent proficient; ELA, 15.4 percent advanced, 35.6 percent proficient, 36.5 percent basic and 12.5 percent below basic.

Kamiah Joint School District 304

•Kamiah High School (grades 9-12): math, 46.9 percent below basic; science, 35.3 percent advanced and 25.5 percent below basic; ELA, 40.6 percent.

*Kamiah Middle School (grades 5-8): math, 11 percent advanced, 13.8 percent proficient, 40.7 percent basic, 34.5 percent below basic; science, 19.4 percent advanced, 33.3 percent proficient, 33.3 percent basic and 13.9 percent below basic; ELA, 9 percent advanced, 33.8 percent proficient, 29.3 percent basic and 17.9 percent below basic.

•Kamiah Elementary School (grades 3-4): math, 31.9 percent proficient and 37.5 percent basic; science, no results; ELA, 16.7 percent advanced, 25 percent proficient, 33.3 percent basic and 25 percent below basic.

State of Idaho

Math: 15.2 percent advanced, 24.1 percent proficient, 31.4 percent basic and 29.3 percent below basic.

Science: 29.7 percent advanced, 29.6 percent proficient, 22.6 percent basic and 18.1 percent below basic.

ELA: 17.9 percent advanced, 33.2 percent proficient, 26 percent basic and 22.9 percent below basic.


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