Jordan School District's results in recent statewide testing of fifth-, eighth- and 11th-graders are "the beginning of a new era for the district," said Superintendent Ray W. Whittenburg.

"I feel positive about how well our students performed, given the fact that this was a new test with new norms."The Stanford Achievement Test, 8th Edition, was "normed" by a group of several hundred thousand students scientifically selected to represent a cross-section of the United States. The national norm of 50 established a hallmark against which schools can determine how well they are doing relative to the rest of the country. It was the first time in Utah that all schools participated in the same test.

Jordan scored above national norms with fifth-graders in the 55th percentile; eighth-graders in the 54th percentile and 11th-graders in the 57th percentile.

Three of the district schools, Jordan Ridge and Peruvian Park elementaries and Brighton High School, scored above the expected range, while five elementary schools were below the expected range. They are Midvale, Riverton, Terra Linda, Westland and Westvale. Expected ranges were developed by the State Office of Education based on the socioeconomic factors represented in a school's population.

Whittenburg said Jordan will continue to use the SAT as its primary achievement test, dropping the Iowa Test of Basic Skills that has been used for some time. The SAT will also be extended to more grades, giving the district a more comprehensive base for analyzing curricula and making policy decisions. The Legislature required testing only for fifth-, eighth- and 11th-graders.

Jordan, like many other districts, fell short of national norms on language arts components of the test, a fact that will get attention from district specialists.

"I believe that part of our problem in the language area is that we have spent a lot of time on a holistic approach to writing, concentrating on teaching children how to write complete sentences and paragraphs, rather than dwelling on punctuation and grammar per se," he said. "We need to address that. I feel certain our scores will improve as we deal with the problem."

Large class sizes also are a detriment to excellence in the language arts, where individual instruction is important, Whittenburg said.

"We have to be very careful about overreacting to one year's results. This year's testing was only the beginning of a new trend. Three or four years from now, we'll know more than we do now."

The district will send parents a report on the 1990 SAT tests after the first of the year and also will begin reporting in the future on end-of-course tests based on actual instruction, he said, to give parents a more detailed view of how their schools are performing.

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Jordan District SAT results

(National norm is 50)

School Total Battery Expected Range

FIFTH GRADE:

District Score 55 47-67

Altara Elementary 64 46-73

Alta View 51 37-62

Bellview 51 44-70

Bella Vista 53 47-74

Brookwood 66 48-76

Butler 69 47-74

Canyon View 63 47-75

Columbia 45 39-66

Copperview 40 33-59

Cottonwood Heights 61 45-72

Crescent 51 45-72

Draper 64 43-69

East Midvale 61 39-66

East Sandy 50 45-73

Edgemont 52 40-68

Granite 53 47-75

Heartland 35 35-60

Jordan Ridge 82 47-75

Lone Peak 64 48-76

Majestic 41 39-66

Midvale 19 26-50

Midvalley 52 40-68

Monte Vista 56 44-70

Mountain Shadows 46 43-69

Mountview 47 44-70

Oakdale 52 46-73

Oquirrh 59 41-69

Park Lane 63 48-76

Peruvian Park 77 46-73

Quail Hollow 63 48-76

Ridgecrest 69 46-73

Riverside 50 40-67

Riverton 40 44-70

Rosamond 51 44-70

Sandy 44 33-59

Silver Mesa 67 47-75

South Jordan 58 44-70

Southland 45 45-72

Sprucewood 60 46-74

Sunrise 59 47-74

Terra Linda 33 40-67

Welby 54 45-73

West Jordan 60 45-73

Westland 41 44-70

Westvale 38 44-70

Willow Canyon 70 47-75

EIGHTH GRADE

District Score 54 44-61

Albion 59 45-68

Bingham 50 42-63

Butler 59 45-68

Crescent View 54 43-65

Eastmont 60 43-65

Indian Hills 61 47-69

Joel P. Jensen 47 39-61

Midvale 47 37-59

Mount Jordan 40 40-62

Oquirrh Hills 49 42-64

South Jordan 60 44-67

Union 59 44-65

West Jordan 53 40-62

ELEVENTH GRADE

District Score 57 48-61

Alta 61 41-65

Bingham 55 38-64

Brighton 69 41-66

Hillcrest 60 38-64

Jordan 48 37-62

Valley* 16 41-66

West Jordan 50 37-62

*Alternative High School

Statewide scores:

5th grade 53

8th grade 51

11th grade 53