PORTAGE | Portage students didn't do what was expected of them in the latest rounds of achievement testing.
Officials at Wednesday's School Board meeting lauded the students, teachers, staff and parents for bucking expectations and not only improving scores on recent tests, but also earning the district an A in the state's grading system.
Assistant Superintendent Mary Tracy said with 53 percent of the district's students on free and reduced lunch, it was expected only 68 percent of the students would pass ISTEP scores. Preliminary results indicated elementary students who were tested surpassed the expectations with passage rates in the 80 and 90 percent ranges.
Tracy said while Portage has double the number of students on free and reduced lunch as the next closest district in Porter County, its third-graders ranked sixth of seven districts, and its fourth- and fifth-graders had the second highest scores in Porter County.
Secondary students also scored well on the achievement tests, Assistant Superintendent Tom Taylor said. PTS sixth-graders ranked fifth in the county, and seventh- and eighth-graders ranked sixth.
Those test scores were included in the state's A-F grade determination, said Debra Dudek, director of special programs, who explained the complicated system to the audience.
Preliminary results (special education students have not yet been factored in) indicate the district has received an A grade. Individually, Fegely Middle and Central Elementary schools received C's, while Willowcreek Middle and Crisman and Saylor elementary schools received B's and the rest of the elementary schools and Portage High Schools all received A's.
In other business, Superintendent Ric Frataccia reported preliminary average daily membership counts put Portage's enrollment at 7,817 students, with kindergarten students counting as half-time. He added enrollment is just about the same as last year.