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Waynesboro Iowa results hold steady

June 11, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - About half of the 2,169 Waynesboro Area School District elementary and middle school students who took the Iowa Test of Basic Skills this year came in above the national average for their grade levels in reading and math.

The other half tested below the national norms, putting the district where it has been for years, "in the middle of the road," said Barbara Kehr, director of curriculum for the 4,200-student school system.

Students in grades two to eight take the tests every year. As usual in Waynesboro, students fared better in reading than in math.

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Kehr had no explanation for the difference.

"We test all students including those with learning disabilities. Not all districts do," she said.

More than 10 percent of the district's students are considered to have learning disabilities. About 4.5 percent are classified as gifted, she said.

According to Kehr, school officials hope results show that students are performing at the level they should be at when they take the tests in April, the eighth month of the school year.

Results of the test taken by the current sixth-grade class showed it was a month ahead in both math and reading.

A year ago, the same students were a month ahead in reading but five months behind in math, according to the test results. In the fourth grade they were at their grade level in both subjects, and in the third grade they were slightly behind in both subjects.

Overall, the test results show students in all grades in the system were performing at or near the eight-month level when the tests were taken. Reading tests showed better results than the math tests, according to the results.

Kehr said many factors affect Iowa test results, including new programs and spells of bad weather that cause classes to be canceled. "These things can bring scores down temporarily," she said.

Kehr said Waynesboro does not put much emphasis on Iowa tests. "They're not mandatory. We use them to keep track of how we're doing."

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