Keeping students on track throughout the pandemic was a feat that most were not prepared for. Anxieties around the world itself, concern over parents’ job security, difficulties regarding virtual learning and the health of themselves and those they love made concentration difficult for students.

We are excited to share that test scores across the CRCSD are improving, and moving toward pre-pandemic levels. This is all thanks to our educators and students, for putting in the work and getting proficiency back on track.

CRCSD Middle Schoolers take two separate tests throughout the school year. The first test is iReady, which measures student performance in reading and math, relating to their grade level and national norms. This test is administered in the fall, winter and spring, and gauges whether students are on track for the official test, the ISASP.

The ISASP is well known as the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, and it measures student achievement and understanding of the Iowa Core Standards in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics and Science. This test is administered in the spring. iReady tests that are showing proficiency throughout the school year give teachers a good indication of students that are ready to take the ISASP.

Overall, reading and math have both improved across CRCSD middle schools, with a year over year growth of +7 in reading and +4 in math on ISASP. Our middle schoolers have closed the gap of white/non-white by +5 points in reading on ISASP, and increased reading by +11 in non-white students. This growth has brought middle school reading proficiency nearly back to pre-pandemic levels.

While we are thrilled with the growth of our students, we want to continue this effort. The next steps for middle schools will be targeting work to improve proficiency and close gaps in reading and math across subgroups- race, ELL and IEP. We will also continue to improve growth and proficiency rates for all students.

Harding Middle School is specifically working towards a goal of 80% proficiency. They have a strong plan in place, and believe they should be there within one year in reading, and within one- two years in math.

At Harding, teachers, counselors and interventionists are working together in small group sessions, using data to help all students succeed. After reviewing data to find out who needs additional support, those students receive 20 minutes of focused time with a reading interventionist. Students who received time with an interventionist have grown from 7% proficiency to 25% proficiency. This growth has allowed Harding to add a math interventionist, where they are hopeful they will see the same growth.

Harding Middle School teachers work with students to develop proficiency goals, giving the student some control over hitting their own goals. Testing through iReady helps both the students and teachers track their progress throughout the school year. Harding celebrates the growth of these students with building-wide assemblies throughout the year, as well as an end of year celebration.

“CRCSD middle schools are on the rise. We are proud about the gains we have made in both proficiency and closing gaps. Our teachers and staff love and support our students and families every day – we believe this care is translating to academic gains and we look forward to our continued growth this year,” says CRCSD Middle School Executive Director, Adam Zimmerman.