South Sanpete ACT scores while below state average, show consistent improvement; DIBELS goals also met

South Sanpete ACT scores while below state average, show consistent improvement; DIBELS goals also met

By Lloyd Call

Associate Publisher



Chart showing last year’s district DIBELS goals for first and second-grade students.

MANTI—The South Sanpete School District board received ACT reports that show that the district’s scores, while slightly below the state average, have been gaining ground over the past five years.

The attached graphic (1) shows that after five years of testing, average composite scores for the state have been between 19.7 and 19.8, and in the district, scores have steadily increased, from 18.9 to 19.6, just below the state. Likewise, graphic (2) shows that the percentage of students meeting three or four benchmarks for the state have remained between 31 and 32, while the district’s scores have shown more improvement, going from 23 to 28 over the last five years.

The other graphics (3,4 and 5) show details of the ACT scores broken down in English, math, reading, science, and then composite scores.

ACT Chart with Figures 1 and 2, showing 5-year average composite scores of the state and South Sanpete School District and Percent of students meeting 3 or 4 Benchmarks.
Chart with Figures 3, 4 and 5 which shows Five Year Trends, Average ACT Scores, and Average ACT Scores statewide by categories.

“We have seen consistent increases in the district over the last five years of ACT testing,” said district superintendent Kent Larsen. “ACT scores are used by virtually all colleges in entrance exams.”

Arlene Anderson, district reading director, reported on the last year’s progress in the district reading program. She said the district had two goals last year: for the first grade, increasing the percentage of first grade students proficient on the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) composite by 6 percent, and for second graders, reducing the percentage of students scoring well below benchmark on the DIBELS composite.

By testing students at the beginning of the year, and at the end of the year, and comparing them, the district exceeded both goals. For the first goal with the first graders, they increased 8 percent, and for the second graders, they decreased by 9 percent.

Goals were set for next year, and approved by the board. The goal for first graders is
a further 4 percent increase, and for the second graders, the goal is different this year, focusing on small group testing, to increase proficiency by 25 percent.

“First and second graders proficiency in reading is vital,” said Anderson, “It sets the patterns that will be the foundation for learning for the students’ entire schooling.”

Anderson also mentioned that the DIBELS test is being revised, and in future years, will be called the “ACADIENCE” or “DIBELS NEXT” test. The new benchmark level subdivides the At-or-Above Benchmark range of scores into two levels, instead of four. At-or-Above Benchmark scores represent a range of skill levels—from students who have scores just at the benchmark to those who score well above the benchmark. Acadience is not an acronym, it is the name of the company that invented the standard.

Anderson also commented on the district’s UPSTART program, which is an in-home, technology-delivered kindergarten readiness program that gives preschool aged children individualized reading, math and science instruction with a focus on reading.

“We are seeing these young students get a good start on pre-school through UPSTART,” Anderson said, “We encourage all parents to seriously considering enrolling their students before the age of five in this fine program.”

The board also approved a band proposal from Gunnison Valley High School to perform in the 4th of July Gunnison Parade, 23rd of July Centerfield Parade and the 24th of July Mayfield Parade. The Gunnison Valley Middle School Band also got permission for a summer band program.

The Gunnison Valley High School wrestling club made its proposal for its 2019-2020 schedule.

Finally, the school board approved the same certified tax rate as last year, at .009642, at least tentatively, since the state has not yet set up the basic levy.