Gilbert public school officials compare test scores favorably to county and state


Brandie Burton (left), director of curriculum, teaching and assessment for Gilbert’s public schools at the elementary school level, and Krista Cox, who holds the same position for high schools, address the district administration board on Sept. 28 about the results of state assessment tests in the neighborhood. (Screenshot from YouTube)

Gilbert’s public school test scores in the spring of 2021 showed a drop – with major caveats – but the drop was not as steep as overall county or state school scores, said. officials.

GPS district officials presented an overview of the scores and issues with them to the board at its September 28 business meeting. The presenters were Brandie Burton, director of district curriculum, teaching and assessment for the elementary level, and Krista Cox, who holds the same position for secondary schools.

The drop occurred between the state’s standardized test scores from spring 2019 to spring 2021, as the state canceled 2020 tests as the coronavirus pandemic took hold in the state and fired students. home for the fourth quarter of this school year.

In addition, the test instruments have changed in the meantime. Arizona used the AzMerit test in 2019 and the AzM2 in 2021. The test is expected to change again in 2022, primarily to AASA, or Arizona Academic Standards Assessment.

Using available data, Burton and Cox showed that GPS students outperformed students in Maricopa County and Arizona State in the percentage of students achieving performing averages at all levels. secondary and primary.

In addition, the drops in GPS scores were less severe than those experienced by overall county and state scores.

Board member Jill Humpherys asked if the change in testing was partly to blame for the drop in scores.

“Certainly these changes have an impact on those results,” said Burton. “… They certainly had an impact on this data. Again, looking forward to Spring 2022, we’re going to see yet another fruit thrown into this mix because we are introducing a new assessment again. “

Burton and Cox also looked at the district’s efforts to stem the decline and improve outcomes. These efforts included providing support to campus administrative teams and groups of teachers called Professional Learning Communities, or CAPs, to analyze test data in order to make decisions about how to improve results. students ; continue to adopt a new curriculum in English for grades 7 to 12 students; and the use of tests for grades K-12 to target student needs for school and to guide support programs for the school year and summer.

Policy changes

The council approved the first readings of changes in four district policies:

  • additional language to address class sizes for special education classes;
  • declaring that board advisory committees should follow state laws on public meetings, including the posting of agendas and the keeping of minutes;
  • allow school boards to adjourn immediately if necessary to maintain decorum during a meeting and the rules of order; and
  • adding wording prohibiting the use of the public comment period to sell items to the district.

Board member Lori Wood said she hoped for further discussion on the last two points at the next board meeting in October due to public comments on these policies. Board chairman Charles Santa Cruz said it would happen. The policies must undergo a second reading and approval next month before becoming part of the district policy manual.

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