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TCSD Achievement Misses Mark But Trends Upward

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The Wyoming Department of Education released the statewide scores for the Proficiency Assessment of Wyoming Students and Alternative Proficiency Assessment of Wyoming Students Monday in Cheyenne. The PAWS outcomes continue a two-year upward achievement trend. Meanwhile, while some classes in some of Teton County’s schools failed to meet adequate yearly progress standards, Superintendent Pam Shea says the overall trajectory of their learning is positive.  Shea says the district traditionally has very strong scores at the 8th grade level – in the high 80’s – with almost 90% of the students meeting the benchmarks.  Shea says, “That’s an indicator to us that we are preparing our students for high school and the switch to the ACT testing suite.”  Furthermore, Shea points out that the elementary schools have significant populations of students still working on mastering English as a second language which impacts their achievements in multiple subjects.  Shea says research shows that to learn a second language for academic knowledge, it takes five to seven years.  Shea adds, “As we see in the early testing years a lower proficiency rate, we look for the trajectory; and by seventh to eighth grade really [see] strong scores for our students in learning the academic language.”  Unfortunately, Shea says the state does not take into consideration that challenges early English language learners face in achieving the level of proficiency set in the standard.  Still, by the end of high school the students have very strong achievement results as evidenced by that school’s selection as a Blue Ribbon School.

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