News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 10, 2012

Vigo County ISTEP-plus scores show steady improvement

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The latest ISTEP-plus scores, released this morning by the state, show continued improvement by Vigo County students.

For the 2012 test, 71.6 percent of Vigo County School Corp. students passed both the language arts and math portions of ISTEP, compared to about 70.5 percent last year.

Statewide, 71 percent of students passed both sections of ISTEP, compared to 70 percent last year.

According to Vigo County School Corp. officials, there are 16 grade/content areas tested with the current version of ISTEP-plus. Students tested in VCSC equaled or exceeded the state average in 11 of those areas.

“This is a record for the VCSC as the previous mark of 10 was set in 2011,” according to a district news release.

In other results:

• In English/language arts, the school district was at or above the state average at all three grades in elementary.

• The VCSC exceeded the state average in science at both grades 4 and 6.

• For the Pass-plus category, the students in the VCSC met or exceeded the state average in eight areas.

“The results show gains in many English/language arts and math areas along with an overall score that exceeds the state average,” said Karen Goeller, VCSC deputy superintendent.

Vigo County ISTEP-plus scores show a third successive year of growth on many portions of the test, she said. In 2010, the district met or exceeded the state average in five areas on ISTEP-plus; in 2011, the district met or exceeded the state average in 10 of those areas. In 2012, the district met or exceeded the state average in 11 of those areas.   

Science scores at grades 4 and 6 also showed much improvement, both in the percentages of students passing and in the percentages of students earning Pass-plus.

“Teachers in our elementary and middle schools are helping students comprehend higher levels of science content, and we have had strong professional development support from Indiana State University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology,” Goeller said.  

Vigo County demographics show greater challenges than the state averages, yet Vigo County students continue to improve in reading and math. The state free/reduced lunch rate is 45 percent while Vigo County is 52 percent.

The state special education rate is 14.7 percent, while Vigo County is 22.6 percent. And, the state intradistrict mobility rate is 2.1 percent while Vigo County’s mobility rate is 6.2 percent.

“Our teachers work in a very focused way to address the mobility issue in Vigo County. Teachers have created pacing guides and consistent syllabi in many curricular areas across the district so that when students move, they will have opportunities to learn the same important content and state standards as in other buildings. And, our teachers should be recognized for making all of these state reading and math standards come alive in the classrooms with their innovative teaching methods,” she said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.