Report: Carter County Schools boost test scores

Published 9:29 am Monday, August 17, 2015

As the Carter County School system prepares to begin a new school year Monday, school officials have learned the system made impressive progress in student achievement during the previous school year.
In a workshop session held Thursday, members of the Carter County Board of Education heard a report on the test scores, which included some good news.
“At this point we have all our test scores back,” said Dr. Jeri Beth Nave, director of federal projects for the schools system. “We really have a lot of positives.”
School systems receive two basic types of evaluations – Annual Measurable Objectives and Value Added Growth.
The AMOs show student proficiency with the education standards, Nave said, while Value Added Growth tracks student progress regardless of proficiency level.
“Proficient is all about meeting the standard. Either you are proficient or you are not,” she said. “Value Added Growth is about where you are from one year to the next.”
The school system saw improvements in both proficiency and student growth during the 2014-15 school year, Nave said.
As a whole, the system met most of the AMOs, Nave said.
“The AMOs we did not meet at the system level were our elementary language arts and our graduation rates,” she said, adding that elementary language arts is a category many school districts have struggled with in recent years.
Another focus of the student assessments is on closing the achievement gap between the main body of students and those students who fall into sub-groups which identify them as being at risk for falling behind in school.
“In Carter County, we really only have two subgroups that we have enough students in to count and that’s ED, which is economically disadvantaged, and SWD, which is students with disabilities,” Nave said. “We want to see more of those students in the subgroups reaching proficiency.”
State test results from last year show that the school system as a whole made improvements toward closing the achievement gap.
“We closed our gaps in some areas, but not all of them, and not a majority of them,” Nave said.
However, that improvement was enough to improve the school system’s overall rating.
“For the last few years we have been classified as a system in need of sub-group improvement,” Nave said.
The test scores and improvements this year bumped the school system up to a classification of “Intermediate,” which is a step up from where they have been in recent years.
“That is the second best one you can get,” Nave said. “The only one better is Exemplary, and there are only 12 of those in the state.”
Board members also learned that for the second year in a row Hunter Elementary School has been named as a Reward School.
“That means they are in the top five percent in the state for student growth,” Nave said.
Under the Tennessee Value Added Assessment System (TVAAS), school systems are ranked 1 through 5 with 5 being the top score.
“We had fives all across the board and we are really happy about that,” Nave said.
While the school system will celebrate its achievements, Nave said they want to keep the momentum of improvement going.
“Even though we made some improvements in closing the achievement gaps that will continue to be an area we focus on,” she said. “This was the one area that kept us from being on that other list. If we had met more of those gap closures we would ahve been named an exemplary school system.”

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