Hamilton Southeastern schools see gains and losses in ISTEP+ scores


Hamilton Southeastern schools saw small gains and losses in ISTEP+ scores between 2011 and 2012, according to recently released statistics by the Indiana Department of Education.

The majority of schools in Hamilton County stayed above the 80 percent passing mark for both the English/language arts component and math component.

This year, Hamilton Southeastern Schools, as a corporation, did not drop below 85 percent of students passing either of the components.

However, Hamilton Southeastern Jr. High School saw a 1.93 percent drop in the English/language arts portion, as well as 3.21 percent drop in math between 2011 and 2012.

Beth Niedermeyer, asst. superintendent of Hamilton Southeastern Schools, said small changes, whether negative or positive, are viewed as fluctuations.

She said the school corporation takes the scores very seriously and uses the data to identify areas that need strengthening in the education process.

One strategy HSE schools use that isn’t publicized often, according to Niedermeyer, is the comparison of data amongst cohort years, as opposed to comparing the data from one year to another. This type of comparison allows for greater tracking of trends.

Pam Chemelewski, a parent of a child attending Hamilton Southeastern Jr. High, said that slight fluctuations in test scores do not concern her as a parent. The education system in Hamilton County is one of the main reasons Chemelewski’s family relocated to Fishers a decade ago.

“It [high pass percentages]just reaffirms why we picked Hamilton Southeastern Jr. High to begin with,” she said.

Niedermeyer said finding the right balance between celebrating successes like the high percentage of students passing ISTEP+ and focusing on improving the system.

As the new school year approaches, HSE Schools plan to refine that system by having teachers assess the data and then work with students, who set their own goals, and parents to ensure individual success.