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12-11-02: Local principal questions state testing rule
Fort Recovery pupils score above average in reading

The Daily Standard
    FORT RECOVERY - Elementary school Principal Nancy Knapke questioned the state department of education's reasoning for not permitting legal accommodations to special education students when they take the mandated fourth-grade proficiency tests.
    Knapke reported at the board of education meeting Tuesday night the results of the reading test taken recently by third-graders as a practice for the fourth-grade test.
    The 88 students taking the test achieved a mean score of 222.9 which compares with a state average of 217, according to Knapke.
    "Although we are above the state average even with our special ed kids, what I question is how can we deny legal accommodation permitted on the IEPs (Individual Education Plans) for our special ed students," she said.
    Accommodations are part of standard intervention plans designed to provide assistance to students struggling for one reason or another.
    The situation Knapke questions centers around students who are permitted by law to have someone read tests to them (accommodation) in order to facilitate their understanding but who are not being allowed the same legal assistance on the proficiency tests.
    Knapke brought up this matter at a recent state advisory board meeting in Columbus and many attending expressed interest in Knapke's ideas.
    Tests were also the subject of high school Principal Ed Snyder's presentation to board members and he explained the phasing in of the Ohio Graduation Test to be given to 10th-graders this spring in the federally required areas of math and reading.
    "By spring 2005 we'll be testing at the 10th grade level in all areas of the proficiency tests, and it will be a graduation requirement," Snyder said adding that one challenge the school faces now is to motivate students this year and next.
    In his report to the board, middle school principal Ted Shuttleworth said 80 eighth-graders and 22 chaperones will be going to Washington, D.C., in April.     
    District Superintendent Pat Niekamp also showed board members photos of the restored school bell which called Fort Recovery students to school in the late 1800s.
    "It's an 800-pound bell which cost $124 in 1888. It originally hung in the school building that was located on the very spot where our high school now stands. Through a donation it has been restored at no cost to us," Niekamp said adding that a local cabinet maker has submitted a drawing for a wood and glass case to display the bell.


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