The Richmond Register

September 28, 2013

School officials going over test scores to plan future steps

By Sarah Hogsed
Register News Writer

RICHMOND — In the second year of the new Unbridled Learning school assessment, the scores released Friday for the 2012-13 school year have shown that students are improving statewide.

“The statewide data clearly show we are making progress, though slower than we would like,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday said in a Friday news release.

Student performance showed improvement from 2012. The percentage of proficient and distinguished students, the top two scoring categories, increased in nearly every subject at every grade level, according to the release.

Students who historically have been stuck in “achievement gaps” are performing at a higher level, the release stated. Those so-called “gap students” are those identified as part of a minority group, receive free/reduced lunch, receive special education or are English-language learners.

The gap students’ scores also are one of five components in each school’s assessment.

This year, the college/career readiness statewide rate jumped to 54.1 percent from 34 percent in 2010, according to the news release.

A new, more accurate way of tracking graduations rate has revealed that 86 percent of students are graduating from high school in four years, the release added.

The overall scoring range for each school is 0 to 100. The state’s goal is to have 100 percent proficiency for all students.



MADISON COUNTY SCHOOLS

Compared to last year, 114 more schools and 31 more districts are performing at the highest levels, which is either proficient or distinguished.

Madison Public Schools is one of those districts that moved from the “needs improvement” to proficient with its 2012-2013 scores.

The highest scoring school countywide was Silver Creek Elementary, which is in the 95th percentile of schools statewide. Its high percentile earned it a distinguished rating along with a School of Distinction designation. Schools of Distinction are those in the 95th to 99th percentile statewide.

Three other schools scored in the proficient category, and 13 were designated “needs improvement.” Nine of the county district’s 17 schools are considered “progressing,” which means they met their score goal for the 2012-2013 year.

Mayfield was the lowest-scoring elementary school, and Madison Middle was the lowest-scoring middle school. Foley topped the list for county district middle schools, and Madison Central edged out Southern to be the top district high school.

David Gilliam, chief academic officer, said because this is only the second year under the new testing system, accurately gauging schools’ academic growth difficult remains difficult.

“It’s going to take two to three years before these scores stabilize,” he said.

Instructors at all of the district’s schools received individual student scores about two weeks ago. They are going through them and assessing each individual child’s needs in an effort to improve their academic performance, Gilliam said.

“We’re dedicated to meeting students’ needs,” he said.



BEREA COMMUNITY SCHOOLS

All three levels of Berea Community Schools have been placed in the “needs improvement” category based on their 2012-13 Unbridled Learning scores. However, Berea Community Middle School did meet its annual goal and was designated a progressing school.

Berea Community Elementary scored the second-lowest of all elementary schools in the county and is ranked in the fifth percentile statewide. Berea Community Middle School also was the second-lowest scoring middle school in the county.

Berea Community High School was the lowest-ranking high school in the county and is in the 56th percentile statewide.

Berea Community Superintendent Mike Hogg did point out some positive data provided in the annual school scores report. The high school graduation rate increased to 95.8 percent, which far surpasses the state average.

The high school also had more graduates who attained college and/or career readiness, from 38.2 percent to 47.1 percent, according to a news release from Hogg. Finally, BCS high school students performed above state averages on the ACT college preparatory assessment in the areas of English, reading, science and math.

All high school juniors in the state must take the ACT.

“We are proud of our growth in students meeting CCR benchmarks and on the ACT, but we have to move more of our students out of the apprentice level of performance and fully into the proficient category,” BCHS Principal Donna Lovell said in the news release.

The middle school showed increases in math, social studies and writing areas, but there were slight drops in science and reading.

Berea Community Elementary School recorded decreased scores in reading, math, writing and science. Social studies showed a slight increase.

“We are scouring over these scores to develop a full understanding of why our performance went down down,” BCES Principal Emily Reed stated in the release. “We are looking closely at our curriculum guides to make sure we are teaching what needs to be taught to give our students every opportunity to be successful.



MODEL LABORATORY SCHOOL

Model Laboratory Schools did well on the statewide scoring, with the middle and high schools earning the highest scores among all county schools. Both school were designated “distinguished.”

Model’s middle and high schools actually showed a decrease in overall scores from last year. However, the scores were still high enough to place them in the 92nd and 96th percentiles, respectively.

Model Laboratory Elementary School ranked fourth among the county’s 12 elementaries. It is designated a proficient school because it ranks in the 82nd percentile statewide. It also is a progressing school because it exceeded its annual score by 4.1 points.

“Model teachers and students are pleased with their continued strong performance on state and national assessments,” Director James Dantic said in an emailed statement.

Dantic pointed out that the students’ ACT school composite score was 23, which is the “highest in school history and places this year’s senior class among the top in the state,” he said.

The elementary school students’ performance also increased its ranking 19 percentage points from last year.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at shogsed@richmondregister.com or 624-6694.