Park City Schools make the grade — except one
Park City schools met both Federal and state standards for student proficiency, with the exception of Treasure Mountain International Middle School.
Despite high overall student performance in Federal and state proficiency testing, Treasure Mountain was identified as not achieving the state level of performance based on insufficient progress on the state indicators for students with disabilities during 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years, according to Park City School District.
Treasure Mountain principal Bob O’Connor said, " The state has identified the problem, and now we’ll fix it."
Federal and state test results were posted Sept. 28. Tim McConnell, of human resources in the Park City school district sees the Federal and state testing programs as "two different ways to get at similar information."
The Federal tests are part of No Child Left Behind, established in 2001 to ensure over time that all students are proficient in core subjects, regardless of their circumstances. If one subgroup of students fails to meet minimum requirements, the entire school fails for that year. Schools are held accountable and must give whatever attention is necessary to bring struggling students up to a state-determined level of proficiency. Schools must make Adequate Yearly Progress, working toward having all students in a school proficient by 2013-2014. One hundred and fifty two public schools in Utah failed to meet AYP standards this year.
Similar to the Federal testing program, the Utah Performance Assessment System for Students, or U-PASS, tests students’ proficiency in core subjects. Schools must have at least 80 percent of their students pass in these subjects.
Treasure Mountain weighed in with strong core test results. 94 percent of students scored proficient in math, 91 percent scored proficient in language arts and 85 percent scored proficient in science.
The major deviance from No Child Left Behind is the testing of individual student’s progress in these classes from year to year. And this is where Treasure Mountain failed to make the grade.
According to O’Connor, roughly 20 students with disabilities failed to show adequate progress on math scores from the year before, resulting in Treasure Mountain’s failure to achieve the required state level of performance. " It makes it hard for a school to pass state proficiency tests when about 3 percent of the school does not pass but over 95 percent does."
While the measurement of a student’s progress from year-to-year does have its merits, McConnell also sees inherent limitations. The progress measurements do not take into account that every year a student faces more advanced classes, in which he may struggle and be judged less proficient from the year before. Also, it was only in 2004-2005 that schools were held to standards with U-PASS. McConnell believes it may take a few years for school districts to fully understand the criteria the state is using.
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