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Charter schools pull highs and lows in Stanford 9 testing
By PAMELA WILLIAMS
When it comes to rhyme or reason in determining standardized test scores for charter schools, it can be difficult. With fewer students tested, percentile ranks are either extremely high or extremely low.
Sedona Charter School proved to have the best overall results for the Verde Valley and Sedona region. With a student testing population ranging from 8 to 20 students, 20 out of 21 average scores were over the 50th percentile with a high of 83 percent. The charter represents grades second through eighth. American Heritage in Clarkdale, a school the same size and with a testing population of about equal size, 8 to 28, had 9 scores over the 50 percentile mark with a low of 30 percent and high of 69 percent. As for the 9th to 11th grade students, no scores were given for the 11th grade but 9th and 10th showed 35 percent to 49 percent for the 9th grade level and 50 percent to 61 percent for the high school level.
Excel Charter School in Cottonwood, for grades 6 through 11 and 2 to 26 students showed lows of 20 percent and highs of 52 percent, but only one percentile above the 50 percent mark with given grades. Chester Newton Montessori Charter in Camp Verde, with 4 to 22 students testing, had lows at 18 percent and a high of 84 percent, with three scores above the 50 percentile mark.
Betty Chester, director for Chester Newton Montessori said that their highest scores were within their fourth grade class, which had scores of 77 percent, 84 percent and 63 percent.
“Our fourth grade class results show the most accuracy of our school’s performance as it shows the effect of the Montessori curriculum. These are the students we have had since we started, from the first grade.”
On the high school level, Vision Quest in Cottonwood, with 9 to 18 students had a low of 10 percent and high of 42 percent and Pathways Charter High School in Camp Verde with 14 to 24 students testing had an 18 percent low and 44 percent high.
Ron Roope of Pathways said in evaluating Stanford 9 scores, there are many factors to look at. For their school, just finishing its first year, they are taking the students previous education and working off of it.
“For us, our plans are in our second year, to begin to say to each student, look at where you are. If you had a low score in Reading, we are going to tailor your curriculum around improving that. We look at each student as an individual. This first year, we inherited their educational disposition from the previous year. You don’t really know their level until the second or third year and then you build from it.”
American Heritage Director Steven Anderson said that meeting the standards are only part of the educational process.
“Our aim is more for building character and pushing the fine arts programs that aren’t measured by Stanford 9,” Anderson said. “We build high expectations. Our focus is teaching values and standards our founding fathers created that makes America great. We are pleased with our scores. We saw them as above average and are generally pretty. Some kids scores went down and some excelled. We are working on those who have had problems.”
Despite the smaller testing numbers in charter schools and short length of existence, most charters had an overall improvement.