Area school corporations have reason to be happy about the ISTEP results released last week.
Of the 11 school corporations in the Kokomo area, including Sts. Joan of Arc and Patrick, all but three — Northwestern, Taylor and Tri-Central — saw at least a slight increase in the number of students passing the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress exam, according to the Indiana Department of Education.
For the second year in a row, Tipton saw the biggest jump in students passing both the English/language arts and math portions of the test. This past spring, 80.1 percent of Tipton students passed both tests. In 2012, 75.8 percent did.
Other school districts that saw an increase in students passing both the math and language arts tests include:
• Southeastern, from 70.9 percent in 2012 to 71.8 percent in 2013.
• Kokomo, from 59.4 percent to 61.3 percent.
• Eastern, from 76.7 percent to 79.4 percent.
• Western, from 78.2 percent to 79.9 percent.
• Maconaquah, from 70.1 percent to 71.7 percent.
• Peru, from 73.9 percent to 76.3 percent.
• Sts. Joan of Arc and Patrick, from 85.8 percent to 88.3 percent.
Though Northwestern’s overall pass rate dropped from last year’s 82.1 percent, its 79.6 percent rate was third highest among the Kokomo area’s public schools.
For our money, the real measuring stick is not the overall passing percentage, but how individual students are performing on the test compared to how they performed a year ago.
It’s good to know that more students passed the test this year than passed it last year in most area schools, but the real measure of success should be whether individual students are making progress.
Those at the top of the scale should be climbing ever higher, and those at the bottom should be inching closer to the passing rate.
The goal of our public education system, after all, is to make certain every student gains the knowledge needed to achieve his or her potential.
Focusing only on passing rates can lead educators to concentrate on students near the threshold, pushing as many as possible over the top.
What we need instead is to focus on every student, to make sure that no child is left behind.