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DoDEA's Students' TerraNova Scores Remain Higher than National Average

For Immediate Release — July 28, 2008 | HQ
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officer | (703) 588-3260
: DoDEA Educational Communications Officer | (703) 588-3265

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA — July 28, 2008 — Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) students' average scores are higher than the national average for the 2008 TerraNova Multiple Assessments, 2nd Edition.

Overall, DoDEA's 3rd - 11th grade students scored 10 - 26 percentile points above the national average (50th percentile) in all subtest areas of reading, language arts, math, science and social studies. The percentile represents the percentage of students in a norm group whose scores fall below an individual student or group average score. For example, if a student scored at the 68th percentile in math, that student scored higher than 68% of the students in the norm group.

The TerraNova is a standardized norm-referenced achievement test developed by CTB/McGraw Hill that compares students' scores to scores from a "norm group." The norm group for TerraNova is a national sample of students representing all gender, racial, economic, and geographic groups. DoDEA administers TerraNova to all students in grades 3-11 except those who have been approved for an alternate assessment. The assessments are administered in the spring of each school year, from the 29th to 31st week of instruction.

"We are very encouraged with our students' continued progress in this year's TerraNova results," said Dr. Shirley Miles, DoDEA Director. "The scores indicate our students are consistently performing above the national average in all of the subtest categories," she added.

When compared with 2007 TerraNova results, overall, DoDEA students maintained or improved their performance in 29 out of 45 subtest areas. More specifically, DoDEA's 7th, 8th and 10th grade students showed a strong performance across the board in all subject areas in 2008. For the majority of grade levels, math and reading scores dropped slightly from 2007 results.

"Our math and reading scores for the 2008 TerraNova do indicate a slight decrease of 1-3 percentile points," said Dr. Miles. "Our focus is on continuous improvement across all of our curriculum disciplines, and we will put particular emphasis and effort on reading and math.

"We are completing a review of our PreK-12 English Language Arts and Mathematics Standards and we're modifying them with regard to clarity and specificity," Dr. Miles added. "We plan to distribute the new standards to teachers and we are now forming a task group to evaluate our entire mathematics program to provide us with strategies aimed at increasing student achievement."

DoDEA students are also moving closer to achieving the high and challenging goals established by the 2006-2011 Community Strategic Plan (CSP), which contains the school system's strategic direction and requires the reporting of student data by the percentage of students within each National Percentile quarter. Specifically, DoDEA's CSP states:

"Seventy-five percent of all students in grades 3-11 will perform 'At the Standard level or higher' (the top two quarters - 51st - 99th percentile) on a systemwide, norm-referenced assessment. Seven percent or less will perform 'Below the Standard' level (the bottom quarter).

Results from the 2008 TerraNova indicate that DoDEA students are three points away from achieving the 75th percentile in Language, 4 points away in Reading, and five points from the CSP goal in Math, Science, and Social Studies.

"Even though an increase of 3-5 percentage points is needed to reach our CSP goal of 75 percent, the percentage of DoDEA students scoring 'At the Standard Level or Higher' is well above the national average," said Dr. Steve Schrankel, DoDEA's Chief of Assessment and Accountability. "Our students' progress toward our CSP goal is steady - between 70-72% of all our students achieved this challenging goal in all subject areas and we have a strong foundation for realizing our 2011 CSP goal."

The TerraNova Multiple Assessment is one of several system-wide assessments DoDEA administers to measure student performance so that inferences can be made about student achievement in basic skill areas and provide a source of information for decision-makers concerning programs and services offered. Results of these system-wide assessments help teachers determine the strengths and needs of students in order to work with them to improve their individual academic skills. The TerraNova provides accountability for DoDEA schools to help ensure all students are working towards achieving their highest potential. The TerraNova results also help parents know how their children scored in different academic subjects.

Detailed tables with overall student performance for DoDEA and area-specific results for DoDDS-Europe, DoDDS-Pacific and DDESS schools are attached.

DoDEA plans, directs, coordinates, and manages the education programs for DoD dependents who would otherwise not have access to a high-quality public education. DoDEA consists of the Department of Defense Dependents Schools (DoDDS) located overseas, and the Department of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools (DDESS) located in the United States and its territories and possessions. DoDEA provides education to eligible DoD military and civilian dependents from pre-kindergarten through grade 12.

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