Board of Education discusses Forward Exam scores

On Sept. 10, the Board of Education of the Wautoma Area School district met to discuss many matters, the most imperative being the scores from the Forward Exam taken by students this past March.

During this exam, students are tested on certain subject materials, such as Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. There are four different scores that a student can receive: below basic, basic, proficient, and advanced. Unfortunately, in many of these areas the students are below basic or are not up to the state average in scores.

It was noted, however, that the 4th grade was either close to the state average or above. For example, 46 percent of students statewide were proficient in Math, and Redgranite students were 91.7 percent proficient.

Trends between teachers and students were also looked at. For the teachers, the same teachers were looked at for a three-year period. Many teachers stayed the same over the three years, but some had dramatic changes. For example, The Redgranite 3rd grade trends revealed that the scored from 2015-16 and 2016-17 went from 50 percent to 80 percent proficient in English Language Arts. When students were compared over a two-year trend of 2015-16 and 2016-17 school years, there was on average no improvement in the students’ scores.

The Board discussed this raw data, noting that because the class sizes in the 4th and 5th grade have been decreased this year, these scores will get better over time. The Board also discussed whether students were taking this test seriously, because the students aren’t graded. The District Administrator said that teachers need to have an attitude that conveys how important this is to the school so that the students take this seriously and try their hardest while taking these exams.

A presentation regarding Character day was also made at the meeting. On Sept. 26, there will be an International Character Day ceremony at Wautoma High School. This will be Wautoma’s first time participating. The purpose of this event is to bring awareness to good character. This event will take place at the Football field from 8:45-9:30 a.m. and the community is welcome to attend. The students will be bussed in to attend, and at the end of the event the students will take a pledge to exemplify good character.

In other news, the District Administrator noted he and Lafe Hendrickson met with Human Resources to discuss a 4-12 grade initiative about mental health and juvenile delinquents. The district is hoping to help students who are starting down the wrong path get to a good place so that they can succeed in life.

A board member noted that starting school ten-minutes earlier has been helpful thus far.

Mike Klieforth said that since the class sized in the 5th grade classrooms has decreased because of adding another teacher, the students in the classes are more well behaved and are always busy working.

The next meeting will be a work meeting on Monday, Oct. 1 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wautoma High School Library. On Monday, Oct. 8 there will be a regular monthly meeting at 6:15 p.m. in the Riverview Elementary Library.