STATE OF NEVADA
SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY DATA TABLES
School Year 1998-1999
Every March, each public school in Nevada is required, pursuant to NRS 385.347, to produce an annual accountability report that is sent to parents and other residents of the district. School districts must then submit a report on or before June 15 of each year that summarizes the effectiveness of the accountability program and describes efforts made by the districts to correct deficiencies noted in the schools’ reports. The data tables in this report were compiled from information supplied by Nevada’s seventeen school districts in their school accountability reports covering school year 1998-99, which were published in March of 2000. Arranging the data in tables facilitates comparisons and analyses of the information reported for each school and district.
The Nevada Education Reform Act of 1997 transferred responsibility for analyzing school accountability data from the Superintendent of Public Instruction to the newly created Legislative Bureau of Educational Accountability and Program Evaluation in the Fiscal Analysis Division of the Legislative Counsel Bureau. The Bureau has since compiled and released three issues of the data tables covering School Years 1996-97, 1997-98 and the current issue covering School Year 1998-99. The Act authorizes the Bureau to contract for the review and analysis of school accountability information and for consultation with school districts on ways to improve their reports. The Bureau’s contractor utilizes these tables in its review of the school districts’ accountability data.
The data tables are divided into three sections: District, Elementary and Secondary information. Each section contains information regarding school/district characteristics (i.e., teachers, classrooms, fiscal, etc.) as well as statewide testing results. Two years of data are provided for each school/district characteristic noted (1997-98 and 1998-99). With regard to statewide testing, the State of Nevada has three proficiency examinations that are administered: TerraNova Examination; State Writing Examination; and the High School Proficiency Examination.
The TerraNova Examination is the state’s norm-referenced examination and is administered at grades 4, 8, and 10 each October; the examination covers the subject areas of reading, language, math and science. Pursuant to NRS 385.367, results from this examination are utilized to determine those schools that will be designated as needing improvement and be eligible for state remediation funds, as available. Because the testing company’s scores are used by the Department of Education to determine which schools shall be designated as needing improvement, scores provided in the data tables are those received via the testing company’s reports, which may not be identical to those reported in school/district accountability reports. Further, because the number of eligible students tested is a piece of the formula utilized to designate schools, the data on numbers of students tested, exempt and special tested that are published in the data tables, is also that received via the testing company. Three years of TerraNova testing data are included in the Data Tables (1997-98, 1998-99, and 1999-00).
The State Writing Examination is administered at grades 4, 8, and 11. Three years of data are provided for the 8th and 11th Grade Writing Examinations (1997-98, 1998-99, 1999-00); only two years of data are provided for the 4th Grade Writing Examination, as it was given for the first time during School Year 1998-99. The Writing Examination results for the 11th Grade are presented with the results of the High School Proficiency Examination (HSPE).
The High School Proficiency Examination covers the subject areas of reading, math and writing. Beginning with the Class of 1999 (pupils who were juniors in the 1997-98 school year and seniors in 1998-99), pupils were required to pass a new, more rigorous high school proficiency examination in reading and mathematics in order to receive a standard high school diploma. The new examinations are based upon a curriculum framework adopted by the State Board of Education in 1995. The new exams were first given to juniors in April of 1998; the next class (Class of 2000) first took the new exams in October of 1998; students are generally allowed to retake the exam up to five times if they do not pass the exam the first time.
Passing scores for the examination are set by the State Board of Education. Assembly Bill 523 of the 1997 Legislative Session directed the State Board of Education to set a “moderate” passing score for the first class to take the new examination (Class of 1999) and to increase the score to a higher level for pupils to who the examination is administered during subsequent years. The passing scores for the Class of 1999 were a scaled score of 61 on the mathematics test and 70 on the reading test; the Class of 2000 and 2001 must obtain scaled scores of 64 on mathematics and 71 on reading. The passing score on the writing portion of the examination remains unchanged at 7 for all three years. Three years of data are reported in the Data Tables (1996-97; 1997-98; 1998-99).
The staff of the Legislative Bureau of Educational Accountability and Program Evaluation wishes to thank Dr. David L. Smith of the Nevada Department of Education’s Accountability and Finance Team for his assistance in preparing these tables. The Bureau also wishes to thank Dr. Paul M. LaMarca for his help in providing TerraNova testing data.
For additional copies of the data tables, please contact the Legislative Bureau of Educational Accountability and Program Evaluation at:
401 S. Carson Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701-4747