LPS shares pride in continued strength of achievement scores

Lincoln Public Schools continues looking at a well-rounded plan for educating children – with excellence in classroom instruction, quality teachers who focus on that great instruction and take time to work with all students, strong school and district leadership, fine curriculum, professional development and continuous improvement – and the result is continued strength in achievement based on release Friday of the 2015-16 Nebraska State Accountability (NeSA) scores, the piece of the achievement picture based on state standards.


“We are really proud that we have so many areas that have the best scores we have ever seen, and that is the result of amazing work happening every day in classrooms across our school district,” said Jane Stavem, associate superintendent for Instruction at LPS. “We’re seeing some of the highest NeSA proficiency scores we’ve ever had – especially in reading and math – in the history of our school district. There’s a lot to celebrate here…and, of course, always more work to be done.”


She emphasized that these kinds of solid scores do not happen by “magic,” but instead – “by doing the hard work to make sure we are accomplishing the right things that focus on instruction.”


There are a total of 17 tests administered to LPS students grades 3-11 through NeSA, and of those: 14 overall scores either went up or stayed the same; and 11 were all-time highs, or tied for all-time highs from the last seven years.


Summary of subject area highlights  (Scores based on assessments administered in Nebraska public schools last spring to all students in grades 3 through 8, and grade 11. This is the seventh year Nebraska students have taken the NeSA reading exam, the sixth year they have take math, and the fifth year for science.)   


Reading grades 3-6

  • In all grades, the percentage of LPS students proficient in reading meets or exceeds the state average.
  • In grades 3, 4 and 5, the percentage of students proficient was at an all-time high in 2016.
  • Grades 3, 4 and 5 have shown an upward trend over the last three years.
  • Ten elementary schools increased the percentage of students proficient in all three grades.
  • Two elementary schools have increased the percentage of proficient students at all three grade levels three years in a row.
  • One middle school has increased the percentage of sixth graders proficient three years in a row.
  • Continued use and refinement of rigorous instruction in McGraw-Hill Wonders curriculum has led to increases in reading scores.

Reading grades 7, 8 and 11

  • In grade 8, the percentage of LPS students proficient on secondary reading exceeds state average.
  • In grades 8 and 11, the percentage of students proficient was at an all-time high.
  • Three high schools increased the percentage of students proficient three years in a row.


  • Elementary curriculum enhancements showed evidence of effectiveness in grade 5 during the 2015-16 school year, tying the all-time highest score for elementary science on NeSA: These scores occurred even with a pilot program for new science curriculum running last school year at six of the 38 elementary schools.
  • Middle school curriculum enhancements showed effectiveness in grade 8, exceeding state average by 1 point in 8th
  • In grades 8 and 11, the percentage of LPS students proficient in science rose steadily from 2012 to 2013 and then become relatively stable in the last two years.


  • For grades 3-8, the percentage of LPS students proficient in math exceeds the state average.
  • All grade levels have an upward trend from 2011.
  • One high school has raised the percentage of proficient students every year starting in 2013.
  • High school proficiency among eleventh grade students enrolled in advanced algebra, or a course beyond advanced algebra, was 81 percent.

Following inquiries from some school districts, the Nebraska Department of Education is confirming the accuracy of calculations of NeSA writing data and did not release writing scores Friday. The writing test will no longer be administered next year as part of NeSA – instead, writing will be embedded in the other tests. “Preparations are already underway for the changes coming next year in writing assessments,” Stavem said.


Published: September 16, 2016, Updated: September 16, 2016