LAPS gets ‘A’ on report card

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By Wren Propp

The Los Alamos Public School District aced its report card for 2016-2017, according to a score issued recently by the state Public Education Department.

The district received an overall score of “A,” which includes scoring in areas of accountability, achievement, post-secondary success and other benchmarks set by the PED.

All but two schools in Los Alamos received individual “A” scores in the annual report under the category of accountability.

“Parents, students and staff deserve a pat on the back, a high-five, and congratulations,” Superintendent Kurt Steinhaus said on Thursday.

The district’s middle school received a “D” in the accountability area of the report, and the district’s Topper Academy – for ninth graders, received a “B” in the area of accountability.

The middle school’s grade reflects certain aspects of the PED’s scoring system that is unclear, Steinhaus said.

“We’ve asked (PED) to release their algorithms, we would like to know how they calculate it, but they haven’t released it,” Steinhaus said.

He also attributed the middle school’s low score in accountability to a high level of achievement by students in the present, and in the past. A portion of the score is based on growth, he said.

“They compare growth from one year to the next. When you compare it to two years ago…its harder to show growth when you’re high achieving,” he said.

The district’s overall grade reflects an analysis of each of the eight schools in the district. The calculation includes the math and reading test scores of students in third grades and higher, as well as test scores on science knowledge in fourth, seventh and eleventh grade. The number crunching includes looking at achievement at each of the eight schools in three subjects: reading, mathematics and science.

“We think our students at the middle school are high achieving and we’re very proud of them,” Steinhaus said.

Under the heading of “achievement,” students at each school are determined to be either “proficient” or “not proficient,” in each subject. Topper Academy ninth-graders were not ranked in this category in the area of science.

At the middle school, 55 percent of the students were determined to be not proficient in reading, with a similar non-proficiency rating in math, at 57 percent. In science the non-proficiency rating was much lower at the middle school, at 25 percent.

The middle school was the only school in the district where a larger percentage of students were determined to be not proficient in reading over a percent of those who were. In math, the percentage of students considered non-proficient at the high school, at 61 percent, was higher than at any of the eight schools.

Proficiency in science, however, hit high to medium percentages in nearly all of the schools, including the middle school. About 81 percent of the students at the high school were considered proficient in science; the lowest percentage of proficiency in science was at Chamisa Elementary, at 58 percent.

The district’s report card and an explanation of its components is available at ped.state.nm.us/DistrictReportCards.html.

The public school districts are listed numerically; Los Alamos Public Schools is 41st on the list.