The Richmond Register

Education

November 2, 2012

Local schools show growth in new state scores

RICHMOND — Unbridled Learning assessment scores were released today for schools across the state.

The scores are based on tests administered last school year (See sidebar for an in-depth explanation of the assessment’s components).

Statewide, 899 schools fell in the “Needs Improvement” category (69th percentile and below); 260 schools were labeled "Proficient" (70th to 89th percentile); and 137 schools are "Distinguished" (90th percentile and above).

Although Model Laboratory Schools are operated under a separate administration, its test scores are all included in the Madison County School’s data.

The Madison County district, as a whole, ranked in the 69th percentile. But, the ranking of Madison County Schools and Model cannot be determined separately (See chart for individual schools’ rankings and overall scores compared to state averages).

All data for the assessment and accountability system are located within the new School Report Card on the Kentucky Department of Education website.

Berea Community Schools

The Berea Community School district was ranked in the 38th percentile with an overall district score of 53.2. With an overall score of 53.3, the elementary school was ranked in the 33rd percentile. The middle school’s overall score was 49.5, which landed it in the 31st percentile. The high school scored 56.8, which ranked it in the 62nd percentile.

Although the percentile ranking system can “develop a sense of competition among schools and encourage districts to improve, focusing on ranking itself is really not a good idea,” said Superintendent Mike Hogg.

Because Unbridled Learning is the new assessment system in Kentucky, he said, “there is no way to compare this to the past. This truly is the launching pad – this is where we are going to start from.”

Over the past a few weeks, Hogg has been meeting with teachers and school leadership to “distill the assessment down to its essence” to determine what “high-quality teaching and high-quality learning looks like,” he said.

Under the old model, a school’s goal was to  raise student achievement above Novice or Apprentice, Hogg said. “But what is so strong about the new model, is it requires attention to all our kids. The ‘Growth’ piece is the most critical piece.”

The high school’s growth, measured in mathematics and reading, is one of the district’s strong points, Hogg said, with 74.1 percent of student showing growth in both subject areas.

Another strong point for Berea is student performance on EPAS, the ACT-series of tests that include the ACT, EXPLORE and PLAN, the superintendent said, with students achieving “well above state averages.”

Making sure students are proficient, maintaining that proficiency, and growing student achievement is the district’s “obligation to the kids,” he said.

One key to maintaining proficiency is to make sure students are on track at the youngest age possible, he said, and to implement “safety nets” for students who are not meeting standards.

“We have to take a more clinical approach,” Hogg said.

He used the example of a person with high blood pressure seeking medical attention. A doctor would not wait a year to bring that person’s blood pressure down. Instead, the doctor would prescribe treatment and schedule a check-up, he said.

“We don’t want to wait till the end of the school year to help kids meet standards when we have this data in October,” he said.

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