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CCSD sees drop in English test scores, gains in math

Updated September 18, 2023 - 7:19 pm

The Clark County School District saw a drop in student test scores in English language arts last school year but made gains in math.

The Nevada Department of Education released results Friday from the Smarter Balanced assessments. Third-through eighth-graders took the standardized tests this spring.

Statewide, 41 percent of students were proficient in English language arts (down from 43.7 percent the previous school year) and 31 percent in math (up from 29.8 percent).

In a news release Friday, the Nevada Department of Education said it’s “committed to transparency and dedicated to improving student outcomes across the state.”

“It is clear Nevada’s students are still recovering from interrupted learning due to the pandemic, as are students across the country,” the department said.

All grade levels saw a decline in English language arts test scores and gains in math.

In the Clark County School District, 39 percent of students tested proficient in English language arts (down from 41.2 percent) and 28.2 percent in math (up from 26.4 percent).

The state also issued school “star ratings” under the Nevada School Performance Framework — a statewide accountability system — for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Clark County district said 108 schools — about one-third of its campuses — increased index scores compared with 2022.

“The continued effects of COVID are evident as we see improvement from the low performance during that episode,” School Board President Evelyn Garcia Morales said in a news release. “We are heartened by the improvement we see and must remain vigilant to ensure our kids recover fully to exceed expectations.”

Schools receive an index score, which translates into a star rating. It’s based on factors like test scores, chronic absenteeism and graduation rate.

It’s the first time star ratings have been issued since the 2018-19 school year.

The district said more work is needed to “ensure all schools continue to see gains or increase their rates of progress.”

Elementary school students continue to show the quickest rebound in math, the district said. It pointed to its investment in instructional materials and professional learning for teachers over the last two years as a factor.

Superintendent Jesus Jara said that seeing scores improve across the district shows that with the right instruction and curriculum, students can improve their performance.

Star ratings

Statewide, the percent of schools garnering the highest possible five-star rating dropped compared with the 2018-19 school year. And the number of one-star schools grew. Nearly 26 percent of schools received a one-star rating — up from 11.7 percent.

Nearly 10 percent of schools received five stars — down from 14.8 percent. And 9.2 percent got four stars, 20.7 percent got three stars and 22.6 percent got two stars.

Gov. Joe Lombardo and the state Legislature passed the largest education budget in state history, with a $2.6 billion increase over a two-year period.

“The Governor and Legislature have set the districts and charter schools up for success,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert said in the release. “Now is the time to seize the opportunities to ensure our learners thrive.”

Across the state, 15 schools increased their ratings by two stars or more.

American Preparatory Academy’s high school, a public charter school in Las Vegas, saw a three-star increase.

Two school district magnet schools — O’Callaghan i3 Learn Academy and White Academy of the Performing Arts — saw a two-star increase.

Explore Knowledge Academy’s middle school and American Preparatory Academy’s elementary school — both charter schools — also had two-star increases.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on X.

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