Results are in, and Payson students fared relatively well on the Stanford 9 Achievement Test.
"We are extremely pleased with the results," Rim Country Middle School Principal Frank Larby said. "Our students scored higher than the Gila County averages, which were relatively low."
The Stanford 9 Achievement Test was designed to measure achievement in the curricula commonly taught in first through ninth grades. The test assesses reading, math and language arts skills. Under reading, for example, students are evaluated on their abilities to analyze main points, infer predictions and recall details.
Payson students scored higher than Gila County averages in each of the three areas tested, and they exceeded state averages in math and reading.
"Language arts is the most difficult area because instruction in writing is not multiple choice," Larby said. "Therefore, we are very pleased with the results."
Payson students' improvement in percentile ranking fluctuated within the last year at each grade level. In almost all grade levels, in all three evaluated areas, Payson students have remained within the 50 to 60 percentile range within the last year.
"The Payson students are doing well when you look at a snapshot percentile rank," Payson Elementary School principal Roy Sandoval said. "Parents should look at it as a slice of what's happening."
Each student who took the Stanford 9 will receive test results which can look like a chaotic mix of numbers and codes.
The PR stands for the percentile ranking, indicating where the student falls on the bell curve. A number in the 10th percentile, for example, indicates the student did better than 10 percent of all the students who took the test at that level.
Mean National NCE is the Normal Curve Equivalency. This allows evaluation on the improvement of a student. Looking at previous Stanford 9 results in this area, for each student, shows improvement if the number increases. Saving a child's scores allows for comparison each year.
The Median Grade Equivalency heading is the most deceiving and the least accurate in analyzing the student, Sandoval said.
It will give a number, in each category, where the student is performing. A score of 10.9 exhibits that this student tested at the 10th grade, ninth month. However, this is a statistical equivalency. If a child in the 10th grade, ninth month took the same test, they would statistically do the same. A child with a score in this area of 10.9 is not indeed performing on this level.
"This test is a pretty fair brushstroke as to how the child is doing at each level, provided that the student did the very best on the test that day," Sandoval said. "It is a diagnostic test, and the results do not give any explanation as to why the child needs more improvement in any given area."
Teachers are continuing to adapt their styles of instruction to better help students in preparing for state tests, concentrating on areas that seem to be most difficult for the students, like math and language arts, Larby said.
Parents can help their students improve on the Stanford 9 and other standardized tests at home.
"Initiate intelligent conversation at the dinner table, be supportive and willing to help them with homework and ask questions about what they are learning," Sandoval said.