August 1, 2008

More Students Meet or Exceed MEA Standards

By Donna M. Perry

LIVERMORE FALLS - Middle school students here have improved their math and reading state education assessment scores three years in a row. It shows that changes made by SAD 36 in education are starting to pay off from elementary level on up, Principal Ted Finn said.

The middle school, classified by the state as a continuous improvement priority school, has made numerous changes in the way students are taught and learning abilities assessed.

The staff has redoubled efforts to identify the needs of each student to give a more accurate picture of his or her strengths and weaknesses and then find a way to improve skills in those areas.

At a July school board meeting, Finn gave a PowerPoint presentation on the situation set to music. He also showed the presentation to two teachers, who had tears in their eyes as they watched it, Finn said Wednesday. It will be shown to staff on the first teachers day of the new school year.

He is expecting a letter from the state soon that will notify the school that it is a continuous improvement priority school in holding, which means that if there is another year of improving results, the school will get a better rating.

The eighth-grade scores show that only 3 percent exceeded standards and 21 met standards in 2005-06 in reading while the majority only partially met or did not meet them.

In 2006-07, those numbers increased to 13 percent exceeding standards and 49 percent meeting them while 22 percent partially met them and 15 percent didn't meet them.

In 2007-08, it was better news with 18 percent exceeding the standards, 54 percent meeting them, 20 percent partially meeting them and 8 percent did not meet them.

Taken as a whole in 2007-08, 72 percent of the eighth-graders met or exceeded standards in reading, 37 percent met or exceeded math standards and 68 percent met or exceeded science standards, Finn said.

All of those categories showed improvement since 2005-06, according to Finn's information.

In grade seven, students went from 41 percent meeting or exceeding reading standards in 2005-06 to 69 percent meeting or exceeding those standards in 2007-08.

For the same time period in math, the scores went from 29 percent of the students meeting or exceeding standards to 55 percent meeting or exceeding standards.

In the sixth-grade scores, 33 percent met or exceeded the reading standards in 2005-06 and in 2007-08 those scores increased to 64 percent meeting or exceeding them.

In math for that same period, the numbers grew from 24 percent meeting or exceeding standards to 63 percent meeting or exceeding standards.

The rising scores "validates all the changes made and new programs put in place," Finn said.

More initiatives are being implemented for the new school year, Finn said, adding that he and staff are looking forward to keeping the momentum going.

Originally published by Staff Writer.

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