Most students are not proficient in science, and scores stagnate

Student performance on the science portion of the Idaho Standards Achievement test stagnated this year, with 41.6% of students achieving proficiency — as compared to 41.4% in 2022.

Notably, more than half of the students tested are not where they should be. The test was newly developed last year, so this year’s results can only be compared to last year’s.

The science ISAT is administered in fifth grade, eighth grade, and once in high school — as compared to the math and ELA portions of the test, which are administered to grades 3-8, and once in high school.

That means fewer students overall take the science portion of the exam — about 66,000, compared to about 159,000 who took math and ELA — so results at the school level are often masked to protect student privacy. Because of that, EdNews is unable to provide top 10 lists by school like we do with math and ELA results.

However, there is enough district-level data to create top 10 lists, which we’ve done below. We also take a look at the science results by grade level and demographics — which show a lack of improvement as students near graduation, and achievement gaps between the most at-risk students and their peers.

ISAT Science: top 10 lists

Before taking a look at these top 10 lists, consider these caveats:

  • A number of small districts had their results redacted by the state, so they are not represented on these lists.
  • These lists do not account for certain differences among districts, including grade levels served, demographics of the students served, size/enrollment (data at smaller districts skews more easily), or geographical location (rural vs. urban).
  • Because of that, these comparisons are imperfect but do provide an idea of where some of the state’s top performers are when it comes to science.
  • For a complete list of districts and their scores, go here. Districts with no scores entered had their results redacted.
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Top ten traditional districts statewide

This list was dominated by smaller, more rural districts that are located throughout the state. The barrier to entry (48.3%) was much lower than it was on the nontraditional LEA list below (64.7%).

District% of students who achieved proficient or advanced on the science ISAT
Kendrick Joint58.1
West Ada57.5
West Side52.4
Grace Joint49
West Bonner48.7
Soda Springs Joint48.3

Top 10 nontraditional local education agencies statewide

Local education agency% of students who achieved proficient or advanced on the science ISAT
North Idaho STEM Charter Academy83
Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy82.7
Victory Charter77.5
Legacy Public Charter School73.5
Gem Prep: Meridian North73.1
Gem Prep: Online71.9
Compass Public Charter69.7
North Star Charter69
Liberty Charter65.4
Forrester Academy64.7

Grade-level trends and achievement gaps

The grade level breakdowns show a slight trend of decline as students near graduation:

Demographic breakdowns show that achievement gaps persist: Students learning English and students with disabilities had the lowest proficiency rates (9.3% and 10.8% respectively), while Asian students and students from military families had the highest (51% and 46.6% respectively).

Achievement targets are not established for the science portion of the exam, as they are for the math and ELA sections.

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