Pressure : 29.87 in
Dewpoint : 63.0 °
Wind : Southeast
State of the Schools report ranks local education districts
Wondering how well your kids school stacks up against others around the state? The Nebraska State of the Schools Report was released Tuesday.
It compiles test scores from the state's standardized testing. And, this is the first year the state is ranking all the districts. NePAS or the Nebraska Performance Accountability System ranks districts by average scores in reading, math, science and writing.
We compared Kearney, Grand Island, Hastings and Adams Central School districts in Reading.
Adams Central ranks 91 out of 249 districts, Kearney - 97, Hastings-161, and Grand Island - 211.
There is not a lot of difference with Math.
Adams Central ranked 95, Hastings - 128, Kearney - 140 and Grand Island - 155 out of the 249 districts.
Grand Island Public Schools are ranked lower than the other big districts in the area. Why is that?
The district says there's a strong correlation between population and demographics to testing scores.
For instance, kids living in poverty or English language learners are more likely to test below average.
That's not to say this is the only reason for the results.
But, GIPS has about 100 of these subgroups of kids with different backgrounds and learning capabilities.
"A diverse student population is really reflective of the world our kids are going to be living in and so we welcome that opportunity," said GIPS Superintendent Dr. Rob Winter.
Superintendent Winter says 39 of the 100 subgroups are seeing big improvements in reading and math.
"Those are the areas that the commissioner talked about with our free and reduced, our children of color, our children of English Language Learners. So, we look at that as great progress," Winter said.
This is the first year for NePAS or Nebraska Performance Accountability System. What it does is it ranks all 249 Nebraska school districts according to their test scores.
"We use that information to then drive instruction. To drive our improvement efforts," said Winter.
Already this year the district is implementing new science programs for high school and middle schoolers.
It's a subject in need of improvement in comparison to other districts.
GIPS ranks 239 out of 249 in standardized testing science scores.
Reading and math scores fared better.
This is the third year in a row that the average scores have improved.
"We have a finite amount of time during the course of a day and a finite amount of time during the course of the school year. So, when you increase, place a greater emphasis on one thing, we're gonna give up," said Winter.
The state says these rankings should be taken with a grain of salt.
But, the district will look closely at the test scores for future planning.
"So some real in depth study of what the standards, indicators and benchmarks are and how do we match lesson planning to that," said Associate Superintendent Dr. Robin Dexter.
Dexter says the school focuses on teaching to state standards, not the tests.
"How do we teach kids to problem solve and fail and take risks and learn something from that?" said Dexter.
The State of the Schools Report can be found online at the Nebraska Department of Education's homepage.
You can find detailed information broken down by each school district.
The website is www.education.NE.gov.
KHASTV on Facebook