Perkins County Schools mentioned in Gov.Heineman’s letter on state test scores
By Jan Rahn
Perkins County Schools is proud to be highlighted in Governor Heineman’s letter addressing the state test results for Nebraska 11th graders.
Perkins County Schools was fourth in the state among Class C-2 schools on the “math” assessment and mentioned by the governor as one of the Class C-2 schools that have improved their scores on the “reading” assessment every year.
The statewide assessments were released toward the end of November as a district-to-district comparison.
“The statewide assessment system is so new that we must be careful to not get too excited about being mentioned as a high performer in the governor’s letter or for having certain sub groups performing below the state average,” said Superintendent Tobin Buchanan.
Buchanan said the state department reminds schools that several years of data from the statewide tests need to accumulate to have a solid picture of district performance.
“District scores across all assessments that include writing-reading-math-science are somewhat sporadic in what they tell us,” said Buchanan. He said the district has areas of great strength as well as areas of concern.
A small majority of PCS students scored at or above the state average on the different tests while nearly 40 percent of students were below the state average.
“Most of the areas of need indicated by the state assessments have already been identified by us through our own data collection, and strategies and interventions have been put in place to bring up those scores,” said Buchanan.
He said statewide rankings would indicate that PCS students are right at the statewide average in all assessments except reading. Students are below the statewide average by nearly seven points.
Buchanan said improvement in reading has been identified as the school improvement goal for the last two years with strategies and targeting of reading interests and motivation levels of certain sub groups already taking place in the elementary and middle schools.
“The statewide rankings are not the best way to judge schools, as they do not account for any of the differences that exist within school populations,” said Buchanan. “Schools and communities should focus on whether or not the scores indicate improvement and progress over the years more so than how they rank with other schools.”
The following table shows a comparison in scores for Perkins County Schools students in the tested subjects.
Perkins County Schools
NeSA Testing Scores
Reading (Percent at or above proficient)
2010 2011 2012 2012 st. avg.
8th graders 53 57 59 73
7th graders 58 51 38 77
6th graders 81 76 77 75
5th graders 91 82 88 76
Math (Percent at or above proficient)
2011 2012 2012 st. avg.
8th graders 43 54 62
7th graders 37 44 68
6th graders 54 64 68
5th graders 64 87 75
4th graders 53 85 72
Writing (Percent at or above proficient)
2011 2012 2012 st. avg.
4th graders 82 79 92
8th graders 100 69 63
11th graders 63 62
Science (Percent at or above proficient)
2012 2012 st. avg.
5th graders 92 67
8th graders 59 68
11th graders 83 67