Iowa Assessments show FDCSD student growth

Fort Dodge Community School District students performed well on the yearly Iowa Assessments and continue to show growth.

According to Sue Wood, FDCSD director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, the district was “very pleased” with the results of its efforts.

“When we looked at the Iowa Assessment data this year, which is, of course, the big assessment that we take every year, we were very pleased to see growth in about all of the grade levels in terms of reading and math. And that’s always exciting to see,” Wood said.

In addition to yearly growth, there were also improvements in areas.

“One of the things we’re most excited about is the amount of growth students had who were at the lower levels,” Wood said. “We saw some significant growth in all the buildings from third to fourth grade, from fourth to fifth grade.”

The fifth and sixth grade, however, showed some deficiencies in reading.

“Sometimes those kids, particularly at the fifth- and sixth-grade level, seem to be like the rest of the nation,” Wood said. “They don’t do as well on the assessments as some of the other grade levels. But that’s a trend we see nationwide, it’s not just here in Fort Dodge.”

Determining student growth was easier in 2012-13 with the second consecutive year of Iowa Assessments, formerly the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.

“The comparison from the year before last to last year wasn’t really a good comparison because it was a different test. But this year it’s the same test,” Wood said. “It’s a test more aligned to the common core state standards, and we saw that kind of growth. So our curriculum is well-aligned with what’s expected.”

The school district also assesses student growth year to year. Students who were fourth-graders and are now eighth-graders, for instance, have shown growth every year, Wood said.

“We always take a look at how much they have grown from year to year, and we did see that growth every year,” she said. “In fact, we saw, if you take a look at our data, at every grade level our students were higher than the average expected standard score. That was nice to see, as well.”

She added, “That’s what you want to see, if the kids are making the expected growth. And we definitely saw that this year.”

Wood said this data is a better indicator of student growth.

“The way that the state likes us to look at it is to compare fourth-graders this year to fourth-graders last year. But those aren’t the same kids,” she said. “When you think about that, it’s not as indicative of the growth students are making if you look at the expected growth students are supposed to make every year.”