Local students math, writing test scores dip
Lower scores reflect higher standards, educators say
By TRAVIS PURSER
Express Staff Writer
Blaine County students scores on a writing test and a math
problem-solving test dropped slightly this year, educators say, due in part to tougher new
Compared to statewide scores, however, local students scores remain
slightly above average.
Unlike the multiple-choice Iowa Test of Basic Skillsa well-known
standardized test administered annually in the nations schoolsthe Idaho Direct
Math Assessment (DMA) and Direct Writing Assessment (DWA) evaluate students writing
competence and math problem-solving ability.
The assessments give a snapshot of student performance and provide
information to assist classroom teachers in shaping future instruction, the State
Department of Education wrote last week in a statement.
For both tests, students receive a score ranging from one to five, with a
score of three being satisfactory and a score of five being advanced.
Each year, Idaho schools administer the DMA to fourth- and eighth-grade
students and the DWA to fourth-, eighth- and 11th-grade students.
On the DMA, Blaine County students scored an average 3.1 in the fourth
grade this year compared to a 3.3 last year. Blaine County eighth-grade DMA scores this
year are an average 2.7 compared to 3.4 last year.
This year, Blaine County DWA scores for fourth grade are 2.8, for eighth
grade are 3.0 and for 11th grade are 3.3. Last years Blaine County DWA scores were
2.9 for fourth grade, 3.0 for eighth grade and 3.4 for 11th grade.
Statewide scores on the DMA this year are 2.8 for fourth grade and 2.6 for
For the DWA, statewide scores this year are 2.6 for fourth grade, 2.8 for
eighth grade and 3.3 for 11th grade.
"The math scores reflect the setting of higher achievement standards
for students," State Superintendent of Public Instruction Marilyn Howard said,
according to last weeks statement. "Were asking students to do the usual
basic skills problems such as computation and were asking them to use those skills
to solve more complex problems. We expect changes in scores when expectations
More than 300 Idaho math and English teachers met in Boise to score the
tests using a strict grading rubric.
The rubric is a set of grading standards that ensures all tests are graded
equally, BCSD director for special services Blake Walsh said in a telephone interview
Educators will later examine the test score data for strengths and
weaknesses in student performance and use the information to adjust future curricula to
better suit students needs, Walsh said.
School counselors will provide parents with their childrens
individual scores upon request, Walsh said.