With many instructional changes in reading and math under way, the Davenport Community School District is working hard to improve student achievement and test scores, the district’s superintendent said.

But Davenport remains on the District in Need of Assistance list on Iowa’s State Report Card for schools, which was released


This is the seventh year the district has been listed for math scores and the eighth year because of reading scores that do not fulfill the No Child Left Behind act’s expectations for proficiency.

In addition to the districtwide status, 25 Davenport schools also are listed on the report card as Schools in Need of Assistance.

That list includes the former Lincoln Elementary School, also known as Lincoln Academy, which closed at the end of the school year for budget reasons.

Superintendent Art Tate said guidelines call for all schools to show 100 percent proficiency in reading and math scores by 2014, which he said is “a stretch-challenge.”

“I wouldn’t say that’s impossible,” he said. “But even if you get better, you’ve still got to make up the difference.”

Tate said the district is “pushing hard” on reading, with action plans in place to close the achievement gaps. The district has seen pockets of improvements, including test scores at Madison Elementary School in Davenport, but “we’ve seen some schools slip back,” he said.

“It varies as much as 10 points or even more, when you’re talking about our subgroups,” he added. “We have to continue working hard and make up a lot of ground.”

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The district also has instituted a new color-coded matrix, showing where each school stands on its reading and math scores on the Iowa assessments. The goal is to bring awareness and “so school actions and district support will be focused where it’s most needed,” Tate said.

He also said the district has a device to measure each school against the national average on the Iowa tests, and Davenport’s three high schools are scoring above that national average on their performance and improvement.

At other schools, “we’re all over the place,” he said.

“We just need to get more consistent,” he said. “We have everything in place. We just need to keep on the path and keep getting better.”