With only a few days of classes completed this school year, Sedalia School District 200 administrators and staff have been reviewing the District’s most recent test scores.
District administrators are pleased with the overall scores, but are implementing strategies to improve upon student performance.
“Overall we are pleased with our student’s performance,” Carla Wheeler, director of curriculum, instruction and assessment, said. “This is the first year the new assessments that are aligned to the Missouri Learning Standards were given and these scores give us a new baseline for the future.”
Statewide, Missouri students exceeded the projected goals in both English Language Arts and math.
“As a district we were above the state average in math, and just a little short in ELA,” Wheeler said. “Part of that may be the restructuring of the ELA testing.”
For the first time, the test was administered online for all students in grades three through eight. The ELA test also featured a listening component.
Students had to listen to a passage on headphones and then had to answer questions and write a response to the audio prompt.
The state average in English Language Arts was 59.7 percent proficient or advanced. In Sedalia, students scored at 55.1 percent proficient and advanced.
In math, Missouri students scored 45.2 percent proficient or advanced. District-wide Sedalia 200 students scored at 45.5 per cent.
“Some of our classes scored above the state averages on the tests,” Wheeler noted. “One shining moment for the district is our sixth grade math scores.
“We are in the top 15 percent in the state in math for that grade level,” Wheeler added.
Both Wheeler and Superintendent Brad Pollitt stressed that looking at the data generated by the State is an ongoing process and the District is constantly looking at ways to improve student learning.
According to Pollitt, the District looked at seven other schools that demographically match Sedalia, including Belton, Fort Osage, McDonald County, Neosho, Independence, Marshall and Branson.
“We were in the top half in all four areas of testing,” Pollitt said. “It’s good to know that we are there in all areas.
“We are extremely pleased with how hard our teachers, administrators and students work every day throughout the district,” he added. “We know there are areas we can improve upon though.”
One change the district is looking to is the way the teacher provides instruction.
“We have to change the way we deliver the message,” Wheeler said. “Teachers need to become more facilitators than simply lecturers.
“The days of the ‘Stand and Deliver’ method of teaching are ending,” Wheeler commented. “When teachers simply lecture, data shows that many of the middle to lower students have simply checked out.”
The district is planning to develop classrooms where all students are engaged.
“We are hoping to see desks in pods of four so students can interact and become more involved,” Wheeler said. “We need to have more trial and error and more involvement across the board.
“We had 115 teachers at our Keegan Workshops this summer for professional development,” Wheeler added. “Those teachers gave their time to attend because they wanted to help our students.”
The Keegan Program focuses on student engagement and critical thinking skills.
“The skills that our students need to have changed from the past,” Pollitt said. “Rote memorization of facts isn’t what students need.
“In today’s society, people need to be able to think independently, and do problem solving when they leave us,” Pollitt added. “Expectations have brought us to this point.”
Sedalia administrators feel confident with the ability of the District to increase the test scores district-wide.
“We know with practice and student engagement the scores are obtainable,” Wheeler said. “Both and students and staff are committed to doing their best.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484