Vernon Township School District middle schoolers performed below state average according to state assessment exams given last spring, while freshman English students were among the district’s top performers.
There was a two-year period in which the state assessments were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and last spring was the first-time tests were conducted again.
The district’s middle school scores were very close, considering the district showed significant deficits in English for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Director of Curriculum Vincent Gagliostro said there was a 10-point gap between Vernon students and the state average, but seventh and eighth graders were about 20 points below state average.
Third-grade math scores were bout 10 points below average, and English was about 15 to 20 points below state average.
The district’s fourth grader scored a 744 in math and English, which wasn’t much of a change from before the pandemic and fifth-grade math only showed a four-point difference. Fourth grade English only showed a 10-point difference and fifth graders only one.
Middle schoolers were the biggest success on the assessment as the district was two points above the state average is sixth grade math, and two points higher in seventh grade. Algebra 1 students were about 3 points behind the state average. Sixth grade English was only a few points away, but seventh grade English was 11 or 12 points shy of the state average. There was an eight-point discrepancy for Eighth grade English.
High school Algebra 1 students scored a 727, eight points below the state average score of 735, but Geometry was above the state average. Geometry and Algebra 1 is made up of ninth and 10th-grade students. English 9 students were about 10 points above state average.
“We’re really excited about the Algebra 1 scores because we had the whole eighth grade take it and the scores were pretty strong,” Acting Superintendent Russell Rogers said. “We’re even more excited when talking with the high school teachers who have these kids after a year of Algebra in eighth grade, and they’re very excited about the growth we’ll see at the high school this year, as well.”
Gagliostro said the district has put in place a Response to Intervention program that focuses on all district students.
“This is where we’re putting in place supports for students who are struggling in these areas,” he said. “We’re trying to accelerate the learning that occurred as a result of the pandemic.”
If a student is struggling in a particular subject, they will work with another teacher for eight weeks to provide additional opportunity to learn. Students will then be re-evaluated after eight weeks to see what growth they made.