SALT LAKE CITY — Students all over Utah are taking their year-end state tests in reading and math. While the scores won't be out until fall, KSL has a new tool that can show parents where things stand right now.
KSL, The Deseret News and Deseret Digital Media have teamed up to show parents how their school compares to others in the state. These CRT test scores don't show the top performers, they show the schools that do the best job of getting the most students to perform to state standards.
Highest test scores
|5.||Mt. Loafer School||NEbo|
|8.||North Star Academy||Charter|
We averaged CRT test scores in reading and math and ranked the outcomes for every school district, every one of the states 600-plus elementary schools, and every grade.
The top 10 schools with at least 250 students include Summit and Mountainside elementary schools in the Cache School District; Canyon Crest Elementary School in Provo; Bonneville, Beacon Heights and Dilworth elementary schools in Salt Lake City; Mt. Loafer Elementary School in Nebo; Westridge Elementary School in Provo; North Star Elementary School, a charter school in Salt Lake City; and Belknap Elementary School in Beaver.
"There are lots of indicators on how a school is performing. CRT proficiency rate is certainly and important one, I think," said John Jesse, with the Utah Office of Education.
The five lowest performers on the list include Dee, James Madison and Thomas O. Smith elementary schools, all in Ogden; Gateway Preparatory Academy, a charter school in Enoch; and Eagle View Elementary School in Uintah.
Lowest test scores
|3.||Thomas O. Smith||Ogden|
|4.||Gateway Prep Academy||Charter|
|5.||Eagle View Elem.||Uintah|
|6.||Vae View School||Davis|
The data raises several questions, like why are five of the lowest 10 performing schools in Ogden? An Ogden School District administrator told KSL News it's poverty. "No one comes close to our demographics. We're more impacted than schools on Indian reservations," he said.
Another question: What is working so well that two of the top schools are in Cache?
"They know their kids," says Summit Elementary School Principal Jack Robinson. "They know exactly where they are in reading. They know exactly where they are in math."
It's a data-driven program that prescribes individual interventions to meet student needs.
We also saw discrepancies within schools. At Windsor Elementary School, scores hover in the 70s and 80s, except in third-grade — a 57 percent?
"If I'm a principal or a parent or a third-grade mother, do I want to know how many of those third-graders are reading at proficient levels? Yeah. I really do," Jesse said. "But if I'm at a school where all 200 came in not reading, then I have different expectations."
Some school leaders criticize efforts to rank and compare CRT scores because schools with high poverty and large populations of students that speak English as a second language are compared with schools that have fewer demographic challenges.
State education leaders agree those challenges are factors. But when it comes down to it, they say, students will have to compete regardless of the demographics at their school.
"No matter what kind of background they have, in the end, they're all going to have to compete in their community and in our state and in our nation," Jesse said.
The impetus behind the rankings is to get parents asking questions and to increase accountability, for the school and the student.
"Realistically, what the parent can control, they can help improve their school; and they can most improve their school by improving what their student can do," Jesse said.
"The one thing I would really just suggest parents should do more than anything," he added, "is have a conversation with their sons and daughters."
CLICK HERE to find the rankings for your school.