Pleasant Valley approves curriculum purchase
The Pleasant Valley School Board Thursday approved the purchase of a math program for sixth through eighth grades, following a presentation showing results from the younger grades.
Susan Mowrer Benda, director of the Curriculum Instruction and Assessment Department, showed results for math and English language arts, with the strongest successes in math.
The data did not include students in high school, because enrollment and attendance numbers have been too fluid “to correlate a complete data picture.”
“We are in the process of doing that at the high school. And as soon as we have that data, we will, of course, share that with the board, but that is a work in progress,” she said.
The math program is called Ready Classroom, and the purchase of it for grades sixth through eighth costs $184,638.75. The purchase was already in the district’s budget for this school year and is being covered by an Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund federal grant.
Beginning with the Pleasant Valley Elementary School, Mowrer Benda showed that at the beginning of the school year, 33% of the students were at risk for doing poorly in math. By the middle of the school year, that group had reduced to 12%.
The group of students in the middle were at 62% when school started. Little changed, with that group dropping slightly to 60% by the middle of the school year.
The group with the largest gain were succeeding in math. When school started, only 5% were likely to do well. By the middle of the school year, that number is up to 28% of the students in first grade through third grade.
All three grades saw successes.
First grade went from 4% to 24% succeeding. Second grade went from 7% to 22%, and third grade went from 5% to 36%, she said.
Pleasant Valley Intermediate School showed the greatest results in students succeeding in math.
At the beginning of the school year, 24% of the students in fourth grade through sixth grade were struggling in math. By the middle of the school year, that had dropped to 18%. The students performing average were 50% when school started and 41% at the middle of the school year. And those succeeding were 26% at the beginning and 41% by the middle.
The improvements at the individual grades were 24% up to 38% for fourth grade, 28% up to 40% in fifth grade, and 26% up to 47% in sixth grade.
The students in seventh and eighth grade are currently using Imagine Learning for math.
The proficiency level for seventh graders went from 33% when school started to 41% by the middle of the school year. Eight graders showed little change. They went from 17% to 19%.
The data does not include the eighth-grade algebra students, Mowrer Benda said. She thinks the statistics would be higher if they were included.
“It’s about a third of the class,” she said that are taking algebra.
The school board approved the purchase of the math program.
English and language arts
Mowrer Benda also reviewed the subjects of English and language arts.
Elementary school students use the STAR (STudent Achievement in Reading) proficiency program.
“We’ve seen moderate growth in our ELA scores,” she said.
Kindergarten students in the fall 2019 had a proficiency of 57%. When they began school as first graders in the fall of 2020, their proficiency was 44%. That grew to 80% by winter, but has since dropped back to 64%.
First graders in the fall of 2019 had a proficiency of 52%, but dropped to 40% when they started in 2020 as second graders. They have risen to 55% by winter, but have slipped to 46% now.
The current third graders were at 44% proficiency as second graders in the fall of 2019. In the fall of 2020, they came in at 56%. They continued to rise to 72% by winter, but have since slipped to 50%.
For the intermediate school, the fourth graders dropped slightly from 61% in the fall of 2019 to 60% in the fall of 2020. They rose to 66%, but have since dropped to 57%.
The fifth graders are the only class to be higher in proficiency at the start of 2020 than they were in 2019. They had a 72% proficiency, up from 64%, but have since slipped to 67% proficiency by the winter and 64% now.
And the sixth graders are rebounding. They started 2020 at 59%, which was 10 percentage points lower than they were in 2019, but came up to 68% in the winter with a slight drop to 63% now.
At the middle school, the seventh graders had been 69% proficient as sixth graders, but began this school year with a 59% proficiency. They rose to 68% by winter, but have dropped slightly to 63%.
The eight graders started the school year with a proficiency of 65%, which was 2 percentage points less than where they were at the beginning of seventh grade. They continued to drop and were at 63% by winter, but have since rallied to 70% proficiency in the language arts.
Mowrer Benda said she is pleased with the growth in the math program, since this is the implementation year for the program. They plan to continue to monitor the progress of the ELA program.