Nebraska Department of Education Releases State Testing Rankings
November 21, 2012
The Nebraska Performance Accountability System (NePAS) measure was released on November 20. The NePAS, in its first year, is designed as an accountability method to report NeSA test results. NeSA tests indicate student learning based on state standards in reading, writing, math and science. These are the tests that High Plains’ students take every spring.
The NePAS ranks school districts by elementary (grades 3-5), middle school (grades 6-8), secondary (grades 9-12) and the entire district (grades 3-12). Each of these grade levels are rated on status, growth and improvement. Status ranks the district’s average scale scores in reading, writing, math and science; growth ranks reading and math scores of the same students this year with their scores last year; and improvement compares the NeSA reading and math scale scores of students in the same grade year to year. For example, this year’s 11th grade compared to last year’s 11th grade.
The NePAS measures were very strong for our high school. Our high school students scored above the state average in all categories of reading, math, science and writing. Our NeSA reading scores for the high school rated 26th best in the state and our high school science average scale score was 7th best in the state. This is a comparison of all schools, regardless of size. Governor Dave Heineman referenced the High Plains science score in a press release last week as the best among smaller schools in the state.
The entire district rankings (grades 3-12) also reflected well on High Plains. Reading, writing and science all rated in the top half of all districts in Nebraska with science ranking in the top third and writing in the top 20 percent, respectively. Only our math ranked lower than the state average by just three points.
In our middle school, writing ranked 4th best in the state among all 231 schools reported while science was 30th in the entire state when compared to all school districts.
Also, our third grade students scored 10 scale points higher than the state average in both reading and math.
Since this is the first year of the NePAS rankings, it will be hard to make many solid inferences from them. Trends that seem to hold true over time will give us our best idea of consistent strengths and weaknesses. Our teachers and principals will continue to look at all of our testing to evaluate what we teach, how we teach it, and when we teach it in our curriculum.