FWCS using ISTEP results to focus on improved achievement - December 04, 2008

Record Number: 4582
Displayed from: Dec 04, 2008 , until: Dec 31, 2008

Fort Wayne Community Schools' teachers and administrators are using the results of the fall ISTEP+ and internal assessment systems to determine where students need additional instruction for improved academic achievement. Fall ISTEP+ results released today show FWCS followed state trends in many areas on this year's assessment. Schools received the results a week before the public release, giving teachers and administrators a head start in examining the data for trends to determine where students are mastering the state's academic standards and where additional work is needed. FWCS officials found where schools are fully implementing research-based programs with precision, improvements are being made. For example, writing scores increased throughout the district at the middle school level. Middle schools have been focusing on improving literacy using READ 180, a computer-based reading program, and Criterion Writing, a computer-based writing program that gives students immediate feedback on their writing. As a result, more students earned a 4, 5 or 6 score on the writing portion of the ISTEP exam. Six is the highest score possible. A focus on strengthening relationships and making sure all students achieve at high levels eliminated the gap in achievement between low-income students and their peers at Indian Village Elementary. In fact, students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch outperformed their peers. For the second year in row, Blackhawk Middle School saw results go up in language arts and math at every grade level. Using data to track student progress and following district-approved, research-based curriculum has allowed teachers to precisely focus on individual students' needs and educate all students to high standards. In a district as large and diverse as Fort Wayne Community Schools we know dramatic improvement does not happen overnight, Superintendent Wendy Robinson said. We are in the middle of a multi-year reform initiative that will bring all students to high levels of achievement. Throughout the district we are seeing pockets of excellence where our initiatives are being fully implemented. As we master these programs we expect to see even more student success. Teachers and administrators will use the ISTEP results as well as more detailed reports from other testing systems to focus on instruction for the second half of the year leading up to the spring ISTEP. Parents will also be able to play a role in tracking their child's achievement using a new online system. This year, in addition to the paper copies being sent home, all families will receive a unique username and password to access more detailed information online. Parents should be receiving this information at home next week.

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.