Iowa Education Department releases high school performance rankings
Most Des Moines public schools are in need of improvement or targeted assistance, according to new data from the Iowa Department of Education.
Driving the news: The state released its analysis of how schools performed in the 2020-21 academic year on Tuesday.
State of play: Des Moines' suburban high schools performed above the state's average score of 54.7 out of 100.
- But high schools in the Des Moines school district consistently ranked under the average — ranging in scores between 40-45.
Of note: Results are based off the spring 2021 Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress, a standardized test administered at public schools.
- Students were evaluated on reading, writing, math and science.
- The majority of students took the test in person.
Between the lines: Last year was stressful for all students, resulting in grades and test performances dropping across the board.
- Yes, but: COVID-19 was even more burdensome on marginalized families. Studies show online learning created instability for students of color and low-income families who relied on schools to provide structure and supervision throughout the day.
Zoom in: Ankeny High School, the highest-ranking public metro high school, is primarily white — 83.6% of its student population.
- English language learners make up 1.6% of its students, while 15.2% of students are on free or reduced lunch.
In comparison, East High School in Des Moines, which is 29.2% white, scored the lowest out of all the metro high schools. Hispanic, African American and Asian students make up the rest of the majority of its student population.
- ELL students make up 24% of its demographics and 82% of the total population qualify for free or reduced lunch.
The bottom line: Standardized test results can be a tool parents can use, but they don’t offer a complete picture, especially given the pandemic’s toll, DOE director Ann Lebo said in a statement.
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