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Salem High School Implementing Techniques to Raise Test Scores

By Bruce Kropp

Salem High School Principal John Boles is not happy with the district's test scores and they plan to do something about it.   Boles reported only 43 percent of this year's senior class had made adequate yearly progress in math and 46 percent in reading.  He notes those scores are down from 48 percent meeting or exceeding last year.  Boles says the Jump Start summer math program for incoming freshmen showed each student improving their math placement scores.  He reports the effort to improve reading scores will go beyond the English department.

"We've met a couple of great outside people that are going to come in and help us work with not only our English department, but all departments because our reading scores need to be improved across every one of our departments in our school, not just English classes.  That's one thing that we recognize and we're gonna address every single department, whether you're the fine arts department, the history department, or the science department, you have a stake in this and that's what we're gonna center our efforts", said Boles.

Boles says the changes come at a time the district is preparing for the Prairie State Exam for Juniors to become more difficult because the testing will move beyond a multiple choice test.  "They're not only giving an answer, but they're giving that answer in great detail.  It's going to be applying it to real life situations and really defending your answer", said Boles.  

Boles says there will be a lot of training work for the teaching staff this summer in hopes of getting prepared for the new testing requirements that will begin when this year's freshmen class are juniors.  The school report card showed the average class size was 19 students.  Teacher and administrative salaries were slightly below the state average.   

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