District reviews state assessment scores

Published 10:21 pm Thursday, October 5, 2017

STANFORD – State assessment scores for the 2016-17 school year look a little different from previous years as the first year of the state’s new accountability system leaves behind the labels and overall ranking scores.

Lincoln County Superintendent Michael Rowe said the loss of labels like Distinguished, Proficient and Needs Improvement this year presents an opportunity for the district to address the worst areas of assessment before the state transitions into the new labeling system. 

This year’s report sheds the data from Program Reviews and instead includes achievement gap, growth, college-and career-readiness and graduation rate data. 

Rowe said removing the program review data gives the district a better look at the true performance results of schools. 

Prior to this year, the program reviews accounted for 22 percent of the overall score, Rowe said. “So that basically hurts most schools because most schools were getting 100 percent of that 22 percent,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing. I don’t want to hear the fluff.” 

While the lack of “fluff” might paint a more grim picture for some schools’ scores, Rowe said the district has a year to look at the meat of the assessment to not only identify areas of improvement but also ways in which the district could provide additional resources to schools in order to achieve those improvements. 

On the elementary level, Rowe said McKinney and Waynesburg Elementary schools scored in the bottom percentile for reading, math, social studies and writing. 

“They have some things that we can celebrate there but there’s some areas in both schools that are areas of concern,” Rowe said. “My take on it is, this is not a year the state is naming new PLA (Persistently Low-Achieving) schools, like the high school was previously, but if they were, those two easily could’ve fallen into PLA status.” 

Rowe said he has reached out to state education commissioner about the possibility of a scholastic audit for both elementary schools. 

Chief Academic Officer Jackie Smith said the Student Support Center’s Academic Division has developed a strategic plan to increase support for the elementary schools as a whole, as well as Lincoln County Middle School. 

“We are working with instructional coaches and principals to support our schools in making some adjustments to our curriculum, instruction and assessment after fall break,” Smith said. “We are getting support out to our schools and our elementary instructional coaches are spending a lot of time with them revising the curriculum and looking at developing plans to implement those revisions as quickly as possible.” 

Smith said district leadership team is spending more time in classrooms and is looking at district-wide plans for improvement such as how to increase the amount of reading that happens at home. 

“I think the first step is always asking the right questions and that’s what Mr. Rowe has done as far as meeting with principals, meeting with instructional coaches. He’s been in all of our instructional coach meetings, he’s been a part of all these academic team conversations at the district level and very involved with the academic part of what we’re doing,” Smith said. “In asking the questions that we’ve asked, it allows for us to get some answers as to why things are the way they are.” 

The district is also celebrating areas of improvement and strength, Smith said. 

“Our high school has made great gains over the past few years and we want to continue to support the intentional focus on student achievement in place,” Smith said. “LCHS has set a goal of becoming a top 10 high school in the state and we have no doubt that our students and staff at LCHS can make that goal a reality.”

District-wide, the most substantial gains were in writing scores, according to Secondary Coordinator Tracy Griffin.  Algebra II and biology scores at the high school also had meaningful gains, she added. 

Rowe said if there’s a year that the district needs to make adjustments, this is it.

“If there’s a year that we need to tweak things and get better, this is the year because there’s no labeling of schools,” he said. “I think we have the tools to do it, it’s just going to take time and effort.” 

ELEMENTARY

Novice

• reading – 25.9 

• math – 23.3 

• social studies – 11.3 

• writing – 14.9 

Proficient/Distinguished

• reading – 48.2 

• math – 35.4

• social studies – 49

• writing – 44

MIDDLE SCHOOL

Novice

• reading –  17.6

• math – 18.5

• social studies – 11.2

• writing – 26.6 

Proficient/Distinguished

• reading – 51.7 

• math – 34.6

• social studies – 56.2

• writing – 38.2

HIGH SCHOOL 

Novice

• reading –  33.6

• math – 16.5

• social studies – 20.9 

• writing – 17.8

Proficient/Distinguished

• reading –  57.5

• math – 53.2

• social studies – 56.3 

• writing – 58.1

See next week’s paper for a closer look at individual school scores.