BEDFORD — Calculating standardized tests and SAT scores, the local school district met or exceeded more than 80 percent of its academic performance goals during the past school year.
“We did well when you really break down and look at the standards,” said Tom Laliberte, assistant superintendent. The school board previously set 21 academic goals related to the New Hampshire Statewide Assessment System exams, Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests and SAT scores. Seventeen of those goals were met or exceeded expectations, while four goals were left unmet, according to Laliberte.
Among the standards for English Language Arts in grades three through eight, local students were able to master 99 percent of those standards. Among the standards for math in those same grade levels, 94 percent of those standards were met. And, the class of 2019 exceeded benchmarks for both math and English in the SATs.
“We will be making sure we use our data to support curriculum revisions,” he told the school board this week, stressing the need to focus on more than just one state test, but various formal and informal assessments. Among New Hampshire school districts with at least 100 students per grade level, Bedford was able to rank the highest for five English and math scores, explained Laliberte.
Overall, he said Bedford finished no less than fifth best in all of the testing divisions. Despite the strong academic performance by Bedford students, there were four goals that were not met by local third-graders at either Peter Woodbury Elementary School or Riddle Brook Elementary School.
At Peter Woodbury, third-grade students did not meet academic goals for English and math. At Riddle Brook, third-grade students did not meet academic goals for English and reading. All of the academic goals were met at Bedford’s remaining elementary school, Memorial, which receives Title One funding and support. In regards to Peter Woodbury, Laliberte said he has already discussed the scores with Principal Cheryl Daley.
“She is already on top of it,” he said, adding the school will use math tutors, reading specialists, reading tutors and other types of flexible learning to focus on areas of deficiency or need. He said the schools are prepared to hit the ground running to make sure that all available resources are utilized. “The targets we pick are fairly arbitrary,” Bill Foote, school board member, said of the district’s goals that are set for standardized tests.
“One test score is not indicative of where we are,” echoed Laliberte, stressing the most important component is attention to individual students. Teachers are aware of the students who are struggling, he said, adding local educators will continue to work with those children by collaborating with other professionals to figure out how best to support them in the classroom.
Laliberte said one of the most valuable offerings within the school district is the summer technology institute when Bedford teachers have the ability to meet in small teams to revise curriculum aimed to improve academic performance district-wide.