EVSC school board address recent ILEARN scores

EVANSVILLE, Ind. – Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. superintendent David Smith said although raw data from the ILEARN results may not have looked positive, schools in the district have improved remarkably.

During Monday’s school board meeting, Smith told the board and those attending the meeting that the district’s test results have steadily increased since 2010, as he cited the EVSC’s placement among other public and private schools in the region.

“When we look at peer comparison of how our schools performed compared to private schools with the same percentage of free and reduced lunch, we came out on top seven out of nine (years). And one of those times we were tied,” Smith said.

Smith addressed how the district’s improvements were largely unreported following the release of the state’s online assessment results earlier last week.

“I’m not blaming the local media,” Smith said. “But unfortunately, when there’s a report minutes after it comes out then it probably doesn’t lend itself to further analysis that I think our students and teachers deserve.”

In Smith’s data, the EVSC showed a 43 and 66 percent improvement in math and ELA from 2018, with the percentage of students passing in both subjects down to two points below the state average.

And among grades 6 to 8, the district was first with students passing math and ELA exams this past spring, Smith said.

“It was pretty evident by the peer comparison that our performance has elevated beyond anybody else in the state,” Smith said. “That’s the story that our residents deserve to hear.” 

“When you think of businesses and how Indiana is going to flourish, we’re not by demoralizing our teachers and keeping bright and talented teachers from our schools,” he said. “We need the best and brightest to educate our kids.”

EVSC board president Karen Ragland and others applauded Smith’s comments during the meeting. She noted the data’s importance for local schools. She said she felt teachers and students were harshly criticized for the recent statewide test results.

“It was worth celebrating because schools are so beat up by performance,” Ragland said. “Too many get judged by what area they’re in and what’s the ‘good’ school or the ‘bad’ school. So, we can celebrate because it’s a very hard profession.”

With the EVSC’s continued improvement compared to other schools in the region, Ragland said other organizations have recognized EVSC’s successful model. This growth, she said, has forged a sense of excitement among the board, and one she hopes grows stronger among teachers, students and the community going forward.

— Courier & Press

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