Roundup Briefs

10/2/2012

Senior Center dance set for Wednesday

Senior Center dance set for Wednesday

The dance Wednesday at the Senior Center of Finney County, 907 N. 10th St., will feature the music of Craig Stevens.

The dance, beginning at 7:30 p.m., is open to anyone age 55 and older. The recommended donation is $5. Attendees are welcome to bring finger food for the break.

Miller to perform at Garden Valley

Al Miller of Garden City will present a musical variety program at 7 tonight at Garden Valley Retirement Village, 1505 E. Spruce St.

The public is encouraged to attend at no charge.

For more information, call 275-5036.

Calculation error found in state assessments

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas education officials blamed a

calculation error Monday for overreporting the amount the achievement

gap between poor and more affluent students and minority and nonminority

students grew on this year's state tests.

The Kansas Department of Education said in a news release that the

issue was with how the state dealt with three districts that don't give

their eighth-grade and high school students the standard state exam. The

McPherson, Kansas City, Kan., and Clifton-Clyde districts use the ACT

college entrance exam and another test designed for younger students

called ACT EXPLORE after receiving a waiver from the federal No Child

Left Behind education law. That waiver is different from a statewide

waiver Kansas received over the summer.

Scores on the alternative exams were converted so they could be used

when calculating statewide results. The problem is older students from

the three districts were counted twice, throwing off the statewide

scores. That was particularly problematic because Kansas City, Kan.,

which has a large number of poor and minority students, saw its scores

drop dramatically with the new, more difficult test. State data show the

district went from having 72.4 percent of its 11th-graders at or above

standard in reading in 2011 to just 17.9 percent in 2012.

"KCK represents a significant portion of several of the subgroups --

African-Americans, Hispanics, probably special education," said Tom

Foster, Kansas State Department of Education director for career

standards and assessment services. "There are a lot of students in KCK.

It's a big district. So when they used ACT assessments, their scores

took a dip and that made the state averages do the same."

District spokesman David Smith said a drop in test scores was

anticipated because the ACT test is more rigorous than the state exam.

"Districts across the state had kids who were proficient on the state

exam and had to take remedial courses in colleges," he said of the

reason for the change.

Still, when the miscalculated statewide scores were released last

month, the drops they showed generated concerns that cuts to the state

education budget is hurting students' performance.

The state has updated statewide information to reflect results only

for students who took state-administered assessments. The eighth-grade

and high school results from the three districts with waivers were

calculated separately and apart from the statewide results.

The new numbers show the gap between students receiving government

subsidized meals and those who aren't grew less. Overall scores didn't

drop as much either.

Originally, for instance, the reading performance gap between black

and white students was reported to have grown by 7.5 percentage points.

Recalculated, it actually grew by 3.1 percentage points.

The state remains concerned, though. A task force formed in the wake

of the initial score release to look at the achievement gap will remain

in effect, and its members are expected to make recommendations to the

Kansas Board of Education in the spring. The state board also will

consider in October whether to combine the scores of students taking the

ACT tests with those taking the state exam.

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