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GIPS State Report Card Shows Exciting Growth

 GISH Freshman Student at desk writing with a pencil while listening to teacher in class.

November 22nd, 2023

Our important work of public education is never complete… but it is rewarding when we can see a positive impact.

The Nebraska Department of Education released their annual reporting of public schools assessment performance on November 22nd.  Each year through their reporting systems (NSCAS and AQuESTT) gives Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) an opportunity to look at the previous school year’s data to see performance and improvements across the district.

While these reports do not encompass all of the factors that contribute to student success, our annual “report card” is a helpful indicator of the progress we are making at GIPS.

Before you read any further, we are delighted to report that every GIPS School improved in proficiency rates across the district!  The teaching and learning taking place in our 700+ classrooms is making a positive impact.

Here is a deeper look. 

What is NSCAS & AQuESTT?

NSCAS stands for the Nebraska Student-Centered Assessment System.  AQuESTT stands for Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow.  Both are accountability standards developed by the Nebraska Department of Education and the Federal Government.

NSCAS and AQuESTT provide a measure of how our students are performing and demonstrating growth on Nebraska State Standards in English Language Arts, Math, and Science. 

As you can imagine, these yearly reports are a helpful tool for us at GIPS as we continue our work of educating students to grow and succeed.


What does the school classification mean?

AQuESTT considers the broader educational experiences and success of each student, not just performance on mandated assessments. Student growth and improvement over time are just as important.  AQuESTT provides classifications for all schools in Nebraska annually.  Each school is placed into one of the following four categories:

  • Excellent
  • Great
  • Good
  • Needs Support to Improve

The assessments used in AQuESTT measures the progress during the previous year.  So, each school’s scores reflect the data from the 2022-2023 school year.

Our full district snapshot may be found on the Nebraska Department of Education website HERE.  (Be sure to select the 2022-23 school year at the top.) 

What do classifications look like across GIPS?

Overall, we saw eight of our district schools improve in their classification!  This is a huge milestone that is worth celebrating.

Our 2022-23 report card (based on last year’s assessments) shows:

  • “Great” GIPS Schools - 4
  • “Good” GIPS Schools - 11
  • “Needs Support to Improve” GIPS Schools - 3 
  • ELA & Math Proficiency
    • Elementary grew by 9.8%
    • Middle School grew by 13.9%
    • High School grew by 3.3%
  • District Math & ELA Proficiency noticed a 10.8% improvement across all grades
  • District Science Proficiency a 2.8% improvement in assessments from 5th, 8th, and 11th grades 

Every GIPS School improved in proficiency rates.  We are incredibly proud of the growth our scholars are showing.

Our sizable assessment growth indicates what we have known to be true, which is that our teachers, support staff, building leaders, academic coaches, and curriculum coordinators are doing incredible things in our classrooms day-in and day-out.  We celebrate them as they continue their meaningful work.

What is next for GIPS?

  1. Focusing on instruction will continue to be a district priority.  We are seeing growth in proficiency across the district.  We want to continue that momentum going forward.

  2. Our four year graduation rate was 83.5%; which was a decrease of 3.8% from the previous year.  The seven year graduation rate was stable at 87%.  We want to keep working towards supporting our staff to improve the outcome of all students at the high school level.

  3. We can clearly see that our students of all ages are improving.  It will be critical to stay the course with focused instruction, implementation of effective Professional Learning Communities, and positive supports. 

We will be sharing a more in-depth report on our annual assessments at our next Board of Education Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on December 14th at the Kneale Administration Building.  As always, we invite our community and those interested in learning more about our Academic pursuits to join us.  Or, you may watch the live stream on the Grand Island Public Schools YouTube Page.

The fruits of our work at GIPS are showing.  We are proud of the positive momentum we are seeing across the district.  Our commitment to providing great educational opportunities remains strong.  

- Matt Fisher
Superintendent, Grand Island Public Schools