County schools show growth in some areas, declines in others on state testing

Published 3:18 pm Friday, July 27, 2018

(Editor’s Note: Future editions of the Elizabethton Star will feature final results from the 2017-18 testing cycle for the Carter County School System. As additional results and breakdowns are released by the state, a look at each school in the system will be included.)

As the Carter County School System is preparing for the start of a new school year next month, state officials have released some preliminary results from last year’s testing cycle.

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Tennessee Commissioner of Education Dr. Candice McQueen recently announced that statewide and district level test results are now available for TNReady and EOC testing during the 2017-18 school year. School level results are expected to be released by the state in the coming weeks.

According to state officials, the TNReady scores show mixed results but also some encouraging areas of progress being made, including strong growth in English language arts (ELA) for elementary grades and improvement in high school math.

Across the state, 35.7 percent of elementary students in grades 3-5 were on track or mastered in ELA, which is up from 33.9 percent in 2017.

In Carter County, 30.2 percent of students in grades 3-5 scored as on track or mastered, up from 26.4 percent in 2017.

County schools also made strides in the numbers of students testing below standard in ELA for grades 3-5. In 2017, 23.2 percent of students in those grades scored below the standard. In 2018, that number dropped to 18.9 percent below standard.

In High School math, across the state 22.5 percent of students were on track or mastered, compared to 21.5 percent who scored at those levels in 2017. In Carter County, 16.2 percent of high school students were rated as on track or mastered in their EOC math exam, up from 14.1 percent the year before. In 2017, 62.9 percent of students scored below the standard on the High School Math EOC. For the 2018 test cycle, that number improved to 57.2 percent below standard.

State officials said the ELA results for elementary schools are encouraging given the state’s focus on early grades literacy through its Read To Be Ready Campaign, which launched in full in 2016-17. The Carter County School System has also pushed the literacy initiative in its schools, particularly focusing on grades K-3 with the goal of having all students reading at or above grade level by the time they complete 3rd Grade.

With a lot of focus being placed in recent years on early grades, state officials said the test results show that middle school grades (6-8) demonstrated a decline in overall performance in all subject areas.

For middle school (grades 6-8) TNReady exams statewide showed:

• 32.1 percent of students were on track or mastered in ELA, down from 33.5 percent in 2017.

• 34.6 percent of students were on track or mastered in math, down from 35.7 percent in 2017.

• 60.2 percent of students were on track or mastered in science, down from 62.2 percent in 2017.

In the Carter County School System, middle school grades showed the following on TNReady exams:

• 29.1 percent of students were on track or mastered in ELA, up slightly from 28.9 percent in 2017.

• 27.8 percent of students were on track or mastered in math, down from 28.3 percent in 2017.

• 54.9 percent of students were on track or mastered in science, down from 59.7 percent in 2017.

Additionally, students across the board saw declines in science, which state officials said reinforces the need to support teachers as they transition to new science standards and a new science test in 2018-19.