The Indiana Department of Education is hailing the results from this year’s ISTEP results.
According to a release from the Department, 71 percent of Hoosier students passed both the English Language Arts and Math portions of the test during the 2011-2012 school year. That’s a one percent gain compared to last year. Plus an eight percent gain since 2008-2009.
"We are really seeing a transformation in Indiana classrooms and we can say, without a doubt, great things are happening year over year in Indiana classrooms to drive these kinds of results,” said Dr. Tony Bennett, Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
The Columbus Signature Academy Fodrea Campus in Columbus showed the highest gains in the percentage of students passing the E/LA and Math portions of the ISTEP+ by 30 percent.
Another high-performing school includes South Bend’s Dickinson Fine Arts Academy.
The school showed greater gains than any other middle school in the state, with 26 percent more of its students passing both the E/LA and Math portions of the ISTEP+.
“Our goal was to change the climate of Dickinson,” said Thomas Sims, principal at the school. When the kids understood there was a buy-in from teachers and a buy-in from the community, everything fell into place. It was the motivation that kept us going.”
Dickinson has been on academic probation for the past four years. This year’s test results could bring them off that list.
“What Dickinson did was focus on developing relationships with their kids and setting the bar very high,” said Dr. Carole Schmidt, South Bend School Community School Corporation superintendent. “Then, they supported them in getting there and not bringing the bar down.”
Sims, along with other Dickinson staff, made a trip to Indianapolis Tuesday and got a special congratulatory message from Bennett.
“We are all pinching ourselves,” Dickinson teacher Lisa McGirr said. “It is still sort of surreal. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined to have our scores be this fantastic.”
Dickinson had 26 percent more students pass both the language arts and math portions of the exam.
After taking office, Dr. Bennett set a goal of a 90 percent pass rate on ISTEP. This year, 85 school reached that goal , up from 75 schools last year.