New Aspire testing gives mixed results for Nashville District

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    By John R. Schirmer
    News-Leader staff

    Preliminary results for the new ACT Aspire testing program have arrived, and Nashville Superintendent Doug Graham has “mixed feelings” about the scores at different grade levels.

    “Some areas knocked the top out of it,” Graham said. “There are some we need to work on.”

    At first glance, “We have a lot to celebrate. We had several areas that were 20 points above the state average. This gives us a benchmark for the Aspire.”

    The Aspire exam is the third different test administered to Arkansas students in the last three years. It was given during the spring semester. Previous tests included the Arkansas Benchmarks and the PARCC exams.

    Overall, “Our grammar scores are really good. Writing scores are not as good,” Graham said. “I’m really pleased with grammar and disappointed in writing. It’s a mixed bag.”

    Nashville English and reading scores “are pretty good compared to the rest of the state.”

    Aspire marked the first time that the writing test was administered online instead of with paper and pencil, Graham said. He and Assistant Superintendent Joe Kell said the new format could account for part of the lower scores as students were required to respond to writing prompts on a computer instead of on paper.

    Administrators and teachers will evaluate the scores and look for areas of improvement, Graham said. “This gives us the chance to set the benchmark and see Aspire progress.”

    The following scores are listed by subject and grade level, with Nashville scores first followed by the state average. The scores indicate the percentage of students who met or exceeded the Aspire readiness benchmark locally and statewide. Nashville scores are listed first for each grade, followed by the state average.

    Math

    Grade 3 – 47.8, 55.09

    Grade 4 – 43.5, 53.22

    Grade 5 – 43.8, 47.62

    Grade 6 – 77.1, 54.58

    Grade 7 – 52.5, 42.32

    Grade 8 – 42.4, 36.23

    Grade 9 – 30.8, 27.12

    Grade 10 – 19.7, 20.44

    English

    Grade 3 – 77.6, 71.6

    Grade 4 – 70.7, 66.9

    Grade 5 – 73.3, 72.9

    Grade 6 – 71.4, 70.7

    Grade 7 – 80.3, 77.1

    Grade 8 – 75.5, 70.4

    Grade 9 – 54.2, 53.5

    Grade 10 – 46.7, 55.2

    Reading

    Grade 3 – 28.2, 34.6

    Grade 4 – 42.9, 40.5

    Grade 5 – 30.1, 32.5

    Grade 6 – 53.6, 44.4

    Grade 7 – 36.9, 34.9

    Grade 8 – 55.4, 47.0

    Grade 9 – 38.9, 35.3

    Grade 10 – 29.2, 33.2

    Writing

    Grade 3 – 17.5, 19.5

    Grade 4 – 9.5, 12.0

    Grade 5 – 15.1, 20.2

    Grade 6 – 42.9, 42.5

    Grade 7 – 7.0, 28.3

    Grade 8 – 7.9, 22.7

    Grade 9 – 42.0, 42.7

    Grade 10 – 47.8, 50.2

    Science

    Grade 3 – 24.8, 35.9

    Grade 4 – 32.0, 38.3

    Grade 5 – 33.6, 38.4

    Grade 6 – 59.3, 51.6

    Grade 7 – 37.3, 39.7

    Grade 8 – 30.9, 37.5

    Grade 9 – 23.1, 26.1

    Grade 10 – 16.1, 28.0

    Results for English/Language Arts and Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics show only the percentage of local students who met or exceeded the readiness benchmark.

    ELA

    Grade 3 – 32.5

    Grade 4 – 35.4

    Grade 5 – 47.3

    Grade 6 – 61.4

    Grade 7 – 43.3

    Grade 8 – 55.4

    Grade 9 – 48.9

    Grade 10 – 36.0

    STEM

    Grade 3 – 28.0

    Grade 4 – 34.0

    Grade 5 – 36.3

    Grade 6 – 65.0

    Grade 7 – 39.9

    Grade 8 – 38.8

    Grade 9 – 29.2

    Grade 10 – 15.3

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