Nampa, Caldwell face work after test scores released

The Nampa and Caldwell school districts say they must redouble their efforts to improve student performance after seeing preliminary results from the statewide Common Core tests.

Results show the percentage of students rated proficient or advanced in both districts were below the state average and the nearby West Ada and Boise school districts. This spring’s tests were the first given under Idaho’s brand of the new Common Core standards, which cover English language arts and math.

The Caldwell School District performed below expectations for the first round of the tests, which are more challenging than the old Idaho Standards Achievement Tests, or ISATs. In Nampa, students met or exceeded expectations in seventh-, eighth- and 10th-grade language arts. The expectations were established by teachers participating in the consortium as the test was in development by a multistate consortium.

“We need to go back and figure out where the disconnect is,” said Jodie Mills, acting Caldwell School District superintendent.

Among Mills’ concerns are the loss of learning by students over the summer. She hopes to bring in a summer program backed by the Treasure Valley YMCA that is intended to stop students’ academic loss while school is out.

The Nampa district is deploying a new language arts curriculum in kindergarten through fifth grade. The curriculum, called “Journeys,” emphasizes writing. .

Nampa also is adding coordinators to give teachers more guidance in math instruction for kindergarten through fifth grade.

David Peterson, Nampa superintendent, said results will improve. “We are not staying here,” he said.

Final scores will be released by the State Department of Education in October.