Students who are building the foundations of literacy are doing very well in Sevier School District.
The results from the latest Acadience Reading Benchmark Assessment are in, and the results are outstanding, said Sevier School District Superintendent Cade Douglas.
“This is a big deal,” Douglas said.
The ARBA is administered to all public schools in the state in kindergarten through third grade. Sevier School District’s scores were second in the state among 42 school districts. North Summit was the top district.
Students in Sevier County scored at 82 percent of students hitting their growth rates for reading skills.
“This was a district-wide effort that was very deliberate,” Douglas said. “This shows that all the work being done in early childhood really paid off.”
Douglas said expanded district preschool and other efforts are helping lay foundations for literacy earlier.
Reading skills are very important to develop by the third grade, Douglas said. He said students who are not reading at grade level by the third grade typically struggle through the rest of their academic careers.
The effort to improve literacy was the result of goal setting, said Lisa Crane, district director of special services.
“Every school has worked hard, and it’s really paid off,” Crane said.
The test results include approximately 1,050 students in the district.
In addition to hitting the benchmark, more than 60 percent exceeded the state growth goal.
The high scores are welcome news, but also create a challenge, Crane said.
“We have to choose goals that are ambitious, but attainable,” Crane said. She said when students are doing so well, it means that more work has to be done to ensure that they continue their academic growth. The idea isn’t just to reach a certain level, but to continue to improve.
“We now have 80 percent of first graders reading at or above the grade level,” Crane said.