School corporations are waiting for guidance from the state before trying to assign too much meaning to the 2014 ISTEP scores released last week. They showed a decline of roughly 20 percent statewide over the prior year. Oregon-Davis Interim Superintendent Jim Dermody calls it a “fluid situation.” He intends to dig deeper into the local data and present a full report to the school board in February.
Meanwhile, he says O-D officials are looking beyond last year’s scores and focusing on making sure students are prepared to achieve at their highest level.
“That’s all we can ask of them, to do their very best and achieve at their highest level. In a pure sense of how these assessments should be used, it allows the instructors to focus in on the strength areas and the areas in need for our students to help them become better learners, better citizens and all those things that a public education is supposed to afford.”
There’s considerable debate at the state level over the future of the ISTEP. Dermody says he’s not in a position as an interim superintendent to weigh in on such matters. Instead he’s taking what he calls a “nuts and bolts approach.”
“Put our students in the best position, put our teachers in the best position, make sure that in terms of infrastructure, in terms of preparation, that our students are in a good place comfort zone. In the big picture I’ve certainly worked that in the past.”
The next round of standardized tests is set to start next month.