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Board Highlights from Feb. 24

More WDMCS Students Proficient on State Test
According to a report released Monday, Feb. 24, students attending the WDMCS performed better in reading, math and science on the Iowa Assessments in 2013 than in 2012.

The Iowa Assessments are tests the state requires students to take in grades 3-8 and grade 11. In WDMCS, students take the tests in the fall.

“I am very optimistic about the data,” said Dr. Laurene Lanich, associate superintendent of Teaching and Learning for the district. In fact, the district met 16 out of its 17 annual improvement goals. “This is a significant achievement for our district and the students attending our schools.”

The data also shows:

  • 5 out of 8 grade levels saw an increase in the percentage of proficient students in math
  • 5 out of 8 grade levels saw an increase in the percentage of proficient students in reading

In comparison to students across the state, the WDMCS has a greater percentage of proficient students in mathematics, reading, and science in grades 3-11. The exception of in science for grade 11.

Lanich said while there are many variables that determine student performance on standardized tests, the district has implemented several strategies to improve instruction and student proficiency. These include district-wide professional development focused on:

  • Learning Targets: Written statements that provide clarity about what a student is supposed to know or be able to do.
  • Differentiation: A way of teaching; it’s not a program or package of worksheets. It asks teachers to know their students well so they can provide each one with experiences and tasks that will improve learning.
  • Professional Learning Communities (PLCs): Groups of educators that meets regularly, share expertise and work collaboratively to improve instruction. Our PLCs work on answering the following essential questions to achieving effective instruction –
    • What is it we want our students to learn?
    • How will we know if each student has learned it?
    • How will we respond when some students don’t learn it?
    • How can we extend and enrich the learning for students who have demonstrated proficiency?

For more information, please see the “West Des Moines Community School District Student Achievement Report 2013-14” on the district website.

Topics: Education, School Board News, Student Achievements