ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : DIR-99-007

Date Created : 12/09/1998


Co-op Directors
Secondary Principals
Elementary Principals
Middle School Principals
High School Principals

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: No
Section:   Central Administration - Mr. Raymond Simon
Identifying High Priority Schools

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
Frank Anthony or Kevin Penix

Phone Number:


Following the recent release of the results of the 1998 Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (SAT-9), you should have received from The Psychological Corporation, a list of schools in your district indicating the number of students taking the fifth grade exam that scored below grade level. In accord with provisions of Smart Start's accountability component, any such school in which 50 percent or more of its students performed below grade level in reading or mathematics should be considered High Priority for local efforts to improve student achievement.

Past experience suggests a correlation between scores on the SAT-9 and the state's criterion-referenced Benchmark Exams, with more students failing to achieve "grade level" on the latter. That being the case, High Priority schools should undertake a major effort to analyze the results of the SAT-9 and understand where the needed curriculum emphasis should be. In this way, proper focus on the state standards aligned with the Benchmarks can be implemented.

Specific details on the statewide accountability system for rewards and sanctions, including Smart Start as well as Grades 5-12, will be released early to mid January. It will include not only expected performance levels, but expected improvements in performance, particularly from High Priority schools.

We applaud the efforts that many of you have already taken in anticipation of the renewed emphasis that is being placed on both the norm-referenced and the criterion-referenced exams. We believe those efforts helped contribute to the significant reduction in the number of schools in which 50 percent or more of the students performed below grade level on this year's fifth grade exam compared to last.

Fifth Grade SAT-9 Summary Results - Number of Schools in Which 50% or More of Students Performed Below Grade Level:

1997 - Reading 223 (45%); Mathematics 306 (62%)
1998 - Reading 168 (35%); Mathematics 255 (53%)


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