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Positive trend

OXFORD — “I’m extremely excited by the work our teachers are doing,” CCA superintendent Dr. Paula Vincent told the assembled school board Jan. 21 during the regular monthly meeting in the Oxford elementary school.
Vincent’s excitement was prompted by recently obtained results from Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS) and Iowa Test of Educational Development (ITED) taken by CCA students.
“We finished our Iowa testing this fall amidst quite a bit of controversy,” Vincent said. After reviewing the results of the tests, two things stood out to her: “Perhaps some of the things we tried made a difference,” she said, and the results illustrate the importance of communication.
Vincent showed graphs of selected grades in the areas of reading comprehension, math, and science. For the most part, improvement over previous years was readily apparent.
In reading comprehension, the CCA fourth-grade students have recently scored consistently in the 80s, versus 70s earlier this decade. The score, out of 100, reflects the number of students taking the standardized assessment who meet proficiency standards compared to the national norm.
“The work by our teachers is nothing less than incredible,” Dr. Vincent said, adding the improvement in test scores shows the reading curriculum is “viable.”
“Moving a standardized test percentage means not only are you doing better than the norm group , but you are doing it at a faster rate than the other schools around you, and it's very difficult to do,” she said, adding “this stuff keeps me up at night. I don’t know how many more things we can keep working on to keep that trend line going.”
The outlook wasn’t so rosy for the eighth-grade students, with scores remaining in the 70s. Vincent pointed out this is fairly normal and in line with the rest of the Area 10 schools.
“Our goal is to get into the 80s,” she added. Students in grades two through nine saw “over one year’s progress,” meaning the students are actually ahead of the standard.
In the high school, eleventh-grade students are “starting to show some improvement,” according to Vincent, who showed a graph spanning four school years. In 2005-2006, the students scored 85 in reading comprehension. The next two years saw a significant drop to 75. For 2008-2009, the current class has soared back to 84. The future looks bright with “good classes coming” according to Vincent, looking at the ninth and tenth-grade classes.
Switching to mathematics, Vincent said “bravo to our system for math work.\ She opened with a graph of the eleventh-grade