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Tue, Oct. 22

Humboldt Elementary retains Excelling ranking

Humboldt Elementary School retains its top AZ Learns ranking of Excelling this year, while two schools moved up one category and three dropped.

The AZ Learns profiles consider AIMS test scores, measures of academic progress, graduation and dropout rates (at the high school level), reclassification of English as a Learned Language students, and adequate yearly progress, in reaching its performance labels.

The top ranking classification is Excelling, followed by Highly Performing, Performing Plus, Performing, and Underperforming. Humboldt Unified School District has no schools falling into the bottom category.

In addition to the above criteria, there is something called a Z score that figures into the rating equation, said Dean Slaga, Humboldt Unified School District assistant superintendent and dean of curriculum.

"The Z score is not static. It is the state average and always moves," Slaga said.

The score reflects the number of students who exceed the standard on AIMS tests across all subject and grade combinations in a school.

"We are doing a good job getting students to pass the AIMS test, now we must take the next hurdle, to help students exceed the standards," he said.

Principals at each of the schools are identifying students who met the standard on the AIMS and who border on the exceeding threshold. Just a handful of kids earning a higher test score will move the entire school up a category, Slaga said.

At Tuesday's governing board meeting he gave school board members a list of what percentage of students at each grade level in district schools reached exceeds scores.

For instance, 40 percent of third, fourth and fifth graders at Humboldt Elementary School earned exceeds scores in math. At Liberty Traditional School, 24 percent of sixth and seventh graders exceeded the writing standards.

At the high school level, teachers and administrators encourage students who have passed the AIMS to retake the tests in an attempt to reach an exceeds score, Slaga said.

Without taking the Z score into consideration, Slaga said six schools would have achieved an Excelling rating, and the other two schools would have been Highly Performing.

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