Danedri Thompson
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For the first time in a decade, state reading and math scores declined in Kansas, but schools in the Spring Hill and Gardner Edgerton school districts continued to show improvement.
Spring Hill earned 31 Standards of Excellence Awards, which is more than ever before. In Gardner and Edgerton, students earned the state standard of excellence in 68 out of 74 possible.
State assessments in reading and math are given to each year to third-eighth grade students and to eleventh graders.
Standard of Excellence awards are given when a certain percentage of students in a school score in the top performance levels on the assessment tests.
It’s a moving target that requires a larger percentage of students score at the “Meets Standard” level or above each year.
USD 231 superintendent Bill Gilhaus said in a press release that he is proud of the students, teachers and community for the high level of learning reflected in the 2012 assessment scores.
“Our students in a number of demographic subgroups also continue to outpace their peers statewide, and despite a more rigorous standard, our outstanding educators continue to prepare our students for academic success,” his statement reads.
Statewide scores dipped for the first time in Kansas since the federal No Child Left Behind law was implemented in 2001.
Reading assessment scores for students performing at or above standards dropped from 87.6 percent in 2011 to 85.7 percent this year statewide. The percentage of students performing at or above standards on math assessment tests dropped 1 percent.
“Despite the decline in overall performance this year, Kansas students continue to perform very well on state assessments,” State Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker said in a statement.
The same assessment tests that determine whether schools meet the state standard of excellence are also used to determine whether schools achieve “adequate yearly progress” under the No Child Left Behind law.
Kansas received a waiver from NCLB this year and is moving to adopt a core curriculum set of standards for next year.
Highlights of Gardner-Edgerton School District test results include:
• 100 percent of fourth grade students at Edgerton Elementary school met the state standard or better in math, reading and science.
• 100 percent of fourth grade students at Sunflower Elementary met the state standard or better in reading, and 100 percent of both third and fourth grade students met the state standard in math.
• 100 percent of all USD 231 elementary students met the state standard or better in science.
Highlights of the Spring Hill School District include:
• Spring Hill High School achieved building wide standard of excellence in reading, math and history/government
• Spring Hill Middle School building-wide achieved the standard of excellence in science, math and reading.
• Spring Hill Intermediate School achieved building-wide the standard of excellence in math and reading.
• Prairie Creek Elementary School achieved the standards of excellence in grades 3,4, and 5 in math and reading and building-wide in science.
• The Insight School of Kansas achieved the standard of excellence in reading.

For more information about state assessment tests, visit the Kansas Department of Education website.