Results from statewide student testing released to the public on Friday show most students in the Kodiak Island Borough and the state are below or far below proficiency in mathematics, science and English language arts, or ELA.
The Performance Evaluation for Alaska’s Schools, or PEAKS, was administered statewide in the spring to students in third through 10th grades. The Alaska Science Assessment was administered only to students in fourth, eighth and 10th grades.
Kodiak Island Borough School District schools performed slightly below the state averages overall on both assessments.
The ASA results for KIBSD students indicate 44.01 percent of students who took the test are proficient in science, compared to 46.44 percent of students statewide.
A total of 1,297 students in the KIBSD took the PEAKS English language arts assessment. Results show 36.78 percent were proficient. Of the 1,300 KIBSD students to take the PEAKS math assessment, 29.38 percent were proficient.
Overall, KIB students in third and fourth grades slightly outperformed the state average for those grades in both English and math.
For third graders, 36.78 percent of KIB students were proficient in English and 47.57 percent were proficient in math, compared to the statewide averages of 34.38 percent and 44.52 percent, respectively.
39.77 percent of KIB fourth graders were proficient in English and 42.37 percent were proficient in math. The statewide averages were 38.84 percent of fourth graders proficient in English and 41.09 percent proficient in math.
KIB fifth graders outperformed the statewide average in English with 43.68 percent proficient in the borough compared to 39.57 percent in the state. KIB seventh and eighth graders outperformed the statewide average in math with 30.61 percent and 29.56 percent proficient, respectively. An average of 29.78 percent of state seventh graders and 23.8 percent of state eighth graders were proficient in math.
Only KIB eighth graders outperformed the statewide average on the ASA, with 50 percent proficiency in science in the borough, compared to 46.88 percent proficiency statewide.
It is the first year for the test, so results cannot be compared to previous years.
The KIBSD Board of Education on Aug. 7 discussed preliminary results from the assessment at a work session.
According to KIBSD Superintendent Larry LeDoux, whose employment with the district began after the assessments were administered, the results will form a baseline to gauge improvements in future years.
He was unable to say in the work session whether the assessment results are an accurate representation of student knowledge, but said any errors would have been consistent statewide.
“I’m glad it judged us tough because we’re not going to get where we need to be if we have false data,” he told board members at the time.
He also pointed out that using averages can obscure the fact that some students are excelling. “There are a lot of successes hidden in those averages,” he said.
According to an Alaska Department of Education and Early Development press release, “PEAKS is not a high-stakes assessment for students. Results do not affect classroom grades, grade advancement, or graduation. The statewide assessment is just one important piece of a balanced assessment system.”
The details of the test were developed by a group of 35 Alaska educators who decided what students should know at each achievement level, and a group of 84 Alaska educators determined the range of scores for each of four achievements levels, according to the release.
The school district has until Sept. 29 to distribute student-level results to parents and teachers, the release states.
“I can tell you, I’m not very satisfied with the results,” said LeDoux in a Tuesday interview with the Kodiak Daily Mirror. “But, that’s where we’re starting. We’re still turning out some of the best students in the country, but we need to make sure that all students achieve at grade level … There’s no success or failure greater than one child.”
He said administrators are working to analyze the statistics to formulate actions to improve scores moving forward.
“The state reports are just the broad general statistics. We’re going to break them down by classroom, by school, by language ability, by income level. Each one of those categories will merit some closer scrutiny and individual strategies to address those needs,” he said.
Student grading and assessment methods are also being scrutinized.
According to LeDoux, comparison of test scores statewide has shown that scoring is often tied to outside factors like income level, whether English is the student’s first language, cultural background and preschool education. He said development of compensatory strategies for each student will be critical.
“When you look at these broad statistics, sometimes they don’t have faces. The teachers have in front of them faces of individual children and I think our strategy, if you asked, is child-by-child and making sure that every child has what they need,” he said.
Of the 46 AKTEACH students to take the English language arts assessment, 43.48 percent were proficient. Of the 45 AKTEACH students to take the math assessment, 28.89 percent were proficient. 47.06 percent of the 17 AKTEACH students who took the science assessment were proficient.
Of 13 Chiniak School students to take the assessment, 53.85 percent were proficient in ELA and 38.46 were proficient in math.
Of 138 East Elementary students to take the assessment, 41.3 percent were proficient in ELA and 42.75 percent were proficient in math. 28.57 percent of the 42 fourth graders at East who took the science assessment were proficient.
Of 251 Kodiak High School students to take the ELA assessment, 27.89 percent were proficient. Of 256 KHS students to take the math assessment, 8.2 percent were proficient. 50 percent of the 104 sophomores at KHS who took the science assessment were proficient.
Of 431 Kodiak Middle School students to take the ELA assessment, 40.37 percent were proficient. Of 429 KMS students to take the math assessment, 31.93 percent were proficient. 51.06 percent of the 141 eighth graders at KMS who took the science assessment were proficient.
Of 14 students in Larsen Bay to take the test, 28.57 were proficient in ELA. No data is publicly available on math proficiency at the school.
Of 118 Main Elementary students to take the ELA assessment, 31.36 percent were proficient. Of 119 Main students to take the math assessment, 26.05 percent were proficient. 26.09 percent of the 46 fourth graders at Main who took the science assessment were proficient.
Of 113 North Star Elementary students to take the assessment, 37.17 percent were proficient in both ELA and math. 41.67 percent of the 48 fourth graders at North Star who took the science assessment were proficient.
Of 14 Old Harbor School students to take the assessment, 28.57 percent were proficient in ELA and math.
Of 111 Peterson Elementary students to take the assessment, 51.35 percent were proficient in ELA and 60.36 were proficient in math. 50 percent of the 30 fourth graders at Peterson who took the science assessment were proficient.
No data is publicly available for Akhiok, Danger Bay, Karluk, Ouzinkie or Port Lions Schools because its release would reveal personally identifiable information, according to DEED.
The assessment results can be viewed on the Alaska DEED website.
Snoderly can be reached at (907) 512-2624. Follow her on Twitter, @KDMjoann