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Test scores improving at Artz-Fox Elementary

MABTON - Test scores at Artz-Fox Elementary School in Mabton had been faltering, but this year staff members have committed themselves to improving the learning environment and giving the students the skills needed for success.

That's according to Principal Angie Ozuna, who spoke to the Mabton School Board Monday during a board study session preceding the regularly scheduled school board meeting.

Students at the elementary school take Measure of Academic Progress tests three times throughout the school year. A fall target score is set for individual students, as well as for each classroom. There are also target scores for winter and spring testing.

Students who take the tests, shared Tamara Steen, are capable of reading polysyllabic words. As a result, students younger than third grade do not typically take the tests, but a few second grade students qualified for the test this past winter.

The test scores continue to show improvement for all classes in both reading and math, according to Ozuna.

"It's absolutely astounding the math and reading data mirror one another," commented Superintendent Sandra Pasiero-Davis when reading the data provided to the school board.

Although there weren't any students who met the fall target scores, several students achieved the target for the winter scores.

One classroom improved its average score by 12 points, noted Ozuna.

"One class dropped in growth," she also pointed out.

Ozuna said some scores are dependent on the students' learning levels. "Some data is also dependent on low-performing students in contrast to high-performing students," she shared.

The numbers are encouraging, however. She attributed the improvements to the staff's dedication to helping the students become successful.

"We went off smart goals...realistic, attainable goals," Ozuna told the school board directors.

The target scores, she added, are based on a national average. The average reading growth of students from fall to winter was about six-and-a-half points.

The average growth in math was the same, and two classrooms improved their scores by 11 points.

The classes have not yet met their target goals, but a fifth grade classroom is within reach of its spring goal. That classroom must improve scores by approximately six points on average to achieve the spring target.

Spring testing, shared Ozuna, began this week.

Steen told the school board the improvements being seen at Artz-Fox Elementary School are encouraging for a number of reasons.

This year the school implemented a new math curriculum. Typically test scores go down when a new curriculum is implemented, but that is not the case with the students in Mabton.

Origomath is being utilized for interventions, as well.

The staff at Artz-Fox Elementary School, shared Ozuna, are showing their commitment to learning. They participate in collaborations and conversations regarding the curriculum and successful teaching tools are taking place.

"That's the key," shared Mabton School Board Director Lupe Maldonado. "You see a breakdown in some schools because the teachers don't work together."

Steen agreed, stating it took the staff at the school a number of years to get to the point they are at. Now that they are there, she said, the data backs up the work.

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