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Despite Unusual Circumstances of Last Year, West Ada Teachers and Staff Proved Continued Student Understanding of Curriculum

July 28, 2021 – Students in West Ada School District are reaching learning goals at a rate comparable to previous years despite the COVID-19 pandemic causing learning environments to change. The four-year cohort graduation rate continues improving as well – up 3 percent since 2017 with 2021 rates available this fall.


While our spring Idaho Reading Indicator (IRI) scores are slightly lower (2 percent lower on average) than the 2018-2019 school year, last year we were able to conduct both fall and spring testing, our schools showed growth in students meeting grade level proficiency targets. Kindergarten and first grade both improved reading proficiency from fall to spring by 22 percent.


On average, the rate of improvement in grade level reading proficiency was 17.7 percent for West Ada School District this year. 


Reading Comprehension Skills Continue Improving, Surpassing State Scores

From September to February of this school year, students in kindergarten through third grade made marked improvements in reading comprehension as monitored monthly through the IRI. Student data from the IRI is used by principals and teachers for instructional planning and to identify student learning goals. Student progress is shared with parents and guardians throughout the school year.


End of year benchmarks show our K-3 grade students are at least 10 percent more likely to be meeting reading benchmarks than peers across the state of Idaho.

  • Kindergarten: 75 percent of West Ada School District students met the benchmark, compared to 61 percent across the state
  • First Grade: 74 percent WASD, 60 percent state
  • Second Grade: 80 percent WASD, 69 percent state
  • Third Grade: 81 percent WASD, 70 percent state


Individual reading concepts are studied by educators, so students are provided with more practice in areas where it is needed most. Concepts where K-3 students were most likely scoring above desired benchmarks are phonemic awareness, decoding, comprehension and vocabulary. Spelling is a skill in which more practice is needed by most students.


The ISAT, English language arts comprehension assessment, scores for students in WASD are higher than at the state by more than 12 percent at each grade level. 

  • Third Grade: 61 percent WASD, 48 percent state
  • Fourth Grade: 63 percent WASD, 50 percent state
  • Fifth Grade: 69 percent WASD, 55 percent state
  • Sixth Grade: 66 percent WASD, 52 percent state
  • Seventh Grade: 72 percent WASD, 58 percent state
  • Eighth Grade: 68 percent WASD, 56 percent state
  • Tenth Grade: 71 percent WASD, 60 percent state 

Elementary Students Mathematics Scores Trend Higher than State

The percentage of students proficient in math the third through fifth grades were within 3-4 percent of the scores in the 2018-2019 school year. While all grade levels showed slightly lower percentage proficient, the use of this resource enabled teachers to close the gap on lost instructional time during the early days of the pandemic.


WASD students are more likely to meet math learning goals than their peers across the state according to the ISAT mathematics comprehension assessment. 

  • Third Grade: 63 percent WASD, 48 percent state
  • Fourth Grade: 62 percent WASD, 46 percent state
  • Fifth Grade: 57 percent WASD, 40 percent state
  • Sixth Grade: 45 percent WASD, 37 percent state
  • Seventh Grade: 55 percent WASD, 40 percent state
  • Eighth Grade: 48 percent WASD, 36 percent state
  • Tenth Grade: 46 percent WASD, 33 percent state 

Virtual School House Boasts Competitive Reading Comprehension Scores

About 400 elementary students were enrolled in Virtual School House for the spring semester. Students in grades K-3 took the IRI alongside peers throughout the state. Their comprehension of reading and writing skills was competitive – surpassing state scores in every category.


Percentage of students achieveing grade level comprehension per IRI category:

  • Composite: 83.6 percent VSH, 65.1 percent state
  • Listening Comprehension: 76.9 percent VSH, 72.6 percent state
  • Letter Knowledge: 70.6 percent VSH, 61.5 percent state
  • Phonemic Awareness: 65.5 percent VSH, 58.9 percent state
  • Alphabetic Decoding: 70.5 percent VSH, 52.2 percent state
  • Comprehension: 81.8 percent VSH, 61.5 percent state
  • Vocabulary: 86.6 percent VSH, 72.2 percent state
  • Spelling: 69.4 percent VSH, 52 percent state
  • Text Fluency: 75.4 percent VSH, 59.8 percent state 

Middle and High School Exceed State Results, Slightly Behind National College Entrance Exam Scores

WASD uses PSAT and SAT data for year over year comparison of high school students’ understanding of curriculum. These assessments use a common grading scale for consistent feedback about student comprehension across educational entities.


WASD students scored 8 percent higher on the evidence-based reading and writing portion of the PSAT than their peers across the state with 70 percent meeting benchmark. They were 1 percentage point behind their peers nationally. PSAT math results tell a similar story, 41 percent of WASD students met benchmarks, 8 percentage points higher than the state and 4 percentage points below the national averages.


PSAT evidence-based reading and writing comprehension:

  • WASD: 70 percent
  • State: 62 percent
  • National: 71 percent

PSAT math comprehension:

  • WASD: 41 percent
  • State: 33 percent
  • National 45 percent


The SAT, taken by juniors and seniors in preparation for college, showed WASD students over-achieve their peers at both the state and national level with 65 percent of students meeting benchmarks in evidence-based reading and writing. Math results are again higher than the state average with 37 percent of WASD students meeting benchmarks.


SAT evidence-based reading and writing comprehension:

  • WASD: 65 percent
  • State: 54 percent
  • National: 60 percent

SAT math comprehension:

  • WASD: 37 percent
  • State: 32 percent
  • National: 37 percent