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Copyright 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of August 1 - 7, 2001


District reading scores reflect improvements

Express Staff Writer

Children in Idaho are having trouble reading.

Without understanding the issue, many who read an article in the Twin Falls Times-News last week about reading scores in each Idaho school district might have come to that erroneous conclusion.

In fact, The Idaho Reading Indicator, given to all kindergarten through third grade students in the fall, is only re-administered in the spring to those who did not previously score at grade level.

In Blaine County, for instance, spring scores show that in kindergarten, 41 percent of the 58 percent of the class that was retested are now reading at grade level. In first grade, 24 percent out of the 46 percent re-tested are now reading at grade level. In second grade, 27 percent out of 57 percent re-tested are at grade level. And in third grade, 34 percent of 59 percent retested are now at grade level.

Statewide, the number of students in the "at-risk" category of below-grade level was diminished after the spring tests. The greatest progress was made in kindergarten where below-grade-level readers dropped by 12 percent.

Blake Walsh, Blaine County School District director for student services, pointed out that the tests get harder from fall to spring since students have progressed through the school year.

The real value of IRI, he said, is the individual student data it provides. Those students who took the second test were offered the opportunity to be in summer school to further work on their reading ability and English language proficiency.

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.