The test results from 2011-12, released on Friday, November 2, 2012, show many bright spots for the Adair County school district and some areas for improvement. Overall, the district garnered a score of 56.7, which puts Adair County in the top half of the state. The district classification falls into the Needs Improvement category, which is how the state of Kentucky is ranked overall. Needs Improvement is the classification for 121 districts in the state, while only 53 districts were either proficient or distinguished, with many of those districts being small, independent school districts such as Beechwood Independent or Anchorage Independent.
The overall district score of 56.7 (59th percentile) puts Adair County 1.7 points away from the 58.4 needed to be in the 70th percentile and a classification of proficient. One of the biggest improvements was in the percentage of students leaving high school College and Career Ready. Last year, 34% met the benchmarks for CCR and this year, the percentage was 54.1%, an improvement of more than twenty points. There was also a significant improvement in the graduation rate. It went up from 76.4% last year to 82.8% this year and is well above the state average of 77.8%.
Another notable accomplishment was for both John Adair Intermediate (with joint accountability shared by Colonel William Casey) and Adair County Elementary School to be classified as Proficient schools. JAIS once again had the highest test scores in the district with scores that ranked them at the 88th percentile statewide for elementary schools.
The overall score for JAIS was 69, with that score being derived from achievement, gap and growth. Adair County Elementary met the proficiency target by scoring at the 71st percentile with an overall score of 62.9. That score was also calculated based on achievement, gap and growth. Both schools posted exemplary scores in fourth grade science, with the district score for fourth grade science being a perfect 100. The total was actually well over 100, but under this new system, scores are capped at 100.
District scores indicate elementary students were above the state average (proficient or distinguished) in reading, science, social studies, writing and language mechanics. Nationally, fourth grade science scores (the only grade tested in science in elementary) were above the national mean, as were fifth grade social studies scores (only tested at fifth grade in elementary). Reading scores exceeded the national average at grades four, five and six. Norm-referenced math scores were above at grades six, seven and eight. Only students in grades 3-8 get NRT scores.
The other two schools in the district, ACHS and ACMS, are classified as Needs Improvement, though there were some very positive results at both schools. The ACHS score was 55.1, which is also in the top half of the state with a percentile rank of 54th. ACMS has a score of 48.3 and a 25th percentile ranking. This school has been identified as a Focus School, meaning there was one gap group (students with disabilities, reading), which did not fall within three standard deviations of the state mean.
Being a Focus School does not mean the school is a failure, but rather that the state has identified a focus group of students who need a bit of extra help in order to meet their goals. Based on state data, elementary schools fared well statewide while high school scores were a bit better than expected. The common theme across the state is that more middle schools struggled in this first year, particularly in the area of reading. The new common core standards have anywhere from 75-80 learning targets that must be mastered in middle school, with those standards encompassing English (grammar), reading, spelling, speech, and debate.
It is also possible under the Next Generation model to be a District of Distinction or School of Distinction or a Highest Performing school or district and still be a Focus District or School if there is a gap in any one subgroup (free/reduced lunch, disability, ethnicity, etc.) and there are a number of those schools and districts identified across the state.
Middle school scores reflect achievement, gap, growth and CCR, with the CCR measure being the Explore test. At the high school, scores are calculated based on achievement, gap, growth, CCR and graduation rate. Since this year’s scores set a baseline, there are no consequences or assistance measures in place by the state for the district or any of the schools in the district. Improvement goals levied by the Kentucky Department of Education for 2012-13 are a one point gain for ACMS and ACHS and .5 for JAIS/CWC and ACES.
At Adair County Middle School, 44.5% of the students scored proficient or distinguished in math, compared to 15.5% who were novice. Both seventh and eighth grade math students were above the state average. In science, 59.4% were proficient or distinguished and science was the area where students earned the most achievement points, with a total of 54. Social Studies results showed 53.7% of the students at proficiency or above. Writing was also above the state average with 44.7% of the students being P/D. Additionally, the eighth grade Explore scores were above the state average.
There are currently 41 Priority Schools throughout the state (formerly Persistently Low Achieving Schools), but none in Adair County. All schools in the state are required to complete Comprehensive School and District Improvement Plans to show ways to reduce gaps among subgroups and that work will begin Monday, November 5, 2012. That day is scheduled as a planning day in the school calendar. Students will not be in attendance on that day, but faculty and staff will begin the comprehensive planning work.
Complete information on all schools in the state can be found on the School Report Card link on either the Adair County website or the Kentucky Department of Education website. For more information, you may contact Phyllis Curry, District Assessment Coordinator and Instructional Supervisor, at the Adair County Board of Education, 1204 Greensburg Street, Columbia, KY 42728, or by calling (270) 384-2476. Individual student scores will be available at your child’s school within the next week to ten days once those arrive from KDE.
Quotes from Ms. Curry, Instructional Supervisor and District Assessment Coordinator:
“I am very pleased with the scores from this first test under the new system. Knowing how challenging the new standards are in reading and math and how much emphasis is now placed on getting students College and Career Ready, I commend our faculty and staff and our students for rising to new levels of expectation. We had been told to prepare for a significant drop in scores and that just did not happen.”
“We still have some work to do, but all the efforts our faculty and staff have put into college and career readiness and implementing the new standards in reading and math show we are definitely headed in the right direction. Moving forward, we will implement the new science standards and program reviews in arts/humanities, practical living and career studies, and writing next year and continue to work hard in the areas that need improvement.”
Quotes from Alan W. Reed, Superintendent
I am thrilled that only one school in our district (Adair County Middle School) was listed as a “Focus” school.
“The 20 point jump in College and Career Ready Scores(CCR) at ACHS was impressive.”
My sincere appreciation to our top performing school in our district John Adair Intermediate School (score combined with Col. William Casey) that excelled in all tested areas, barely missing the “Distinguished” category (highest ranking) by less than a point. The perfect score in science at John Adair (100) may be the highest in the state.
Each of our elementary schools are to be commended. Adair County Elementary, made it to the Proficiency category.
Across the state middle schools appeared to peform lower under the new Unbridled Learning/Next Generation testing model. The same can be said about high schools, statewide. While there were many successes to celebrate, we are going to set some serious goals for improvement. We will have some new ways to improve our system’s performance as we reconfigure our schools next year.
I want to remind the public that Adair County Schools placed the upper 50% of all Kentucky Schools. I want to personally thank leadership, faculties, and students for working hard. We have set a new baseline in a brand new accountability model, Unbridled Learning, and I am confident we will raise our scores even further next year.
“Education Commissioner Dr. Terry Holliday has been preparing everyone in the state for a significant drop in test scores. At least in our school district, that just did not happen.”