Skill levels improving for Prairie du Chien students

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By Ted Pennekamp

 

The Prairie du Chien School District has been doing quite well with regard to improving the reading and math skills in the elementary grades. 

“The vast majority of students are on grade level,” said Prairie du Chien District Administrator Robert Smudde, who noted that Prairie du Chien conducts tests three times per year to find out what percentage of students are at or above the level they should be at in math and reading in each grade according to state standards. 

The tests are also designed to measure each individual’s progress, and can be used to pinpoint an issue right away so teachers can get to it and solve the issue sooner, Smudde said. 

Tests in 2016 showed that more than 80 percent of first graders were at or above grade level in reading, and 85 percent are at or above grade level in math, which Smudde said is very good for math. Smudde explained that the tests are given to every student, including those who are cognitively challenged.

In second grade, 75 percent of students were at or above grade level in reading and 76 percent in math.

In third grade, it was 80 percent for reading and 72 percent in math. 

“We set pretty ambitious goals and set a high standard,” said Smudde about the continuing effort to raise the skill levels of all students. “We do what it takes to give the kids an extra boost.”

Smudde said the tests, which are developed by the district can be tweaked and improved. They can target students who need more intensive work and also be used to identify and fix holes in the curriculum.

“We’re always striving to be better,” he said, in noting that the district and the teachers are never satisfied. “Our teachers are aggressive to be better and are extremely dedicated. We also have exceptional administrators in each building.”

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